After weeks of dire news from the Gulf of Mexico, President Barack Obama stepped forward yesterday to reassure the American public that “we will get through this crisis”, even if the way out is certain to be long and arduous.
It is now 50 days since crude began gushing from the sea bed.
Mr Obama spoke just as a new poll for ABC News came out showing that more than two-thirds of Americans believe the federal government has fallen short in its response. A majority also said the government should pursue criminal charges against BP.
Robert Gibbs, the White House Press Secretary, suggested that, even after BP has paid for compensation and the clean-up it will face “billions” in fines for the accident. Those fines could total $4,300 (£2,972) per barrel spilled into the ocean, he said.
BP — whose shares have lost about one-third of their value since the crisis began — said that the cost of the spill response so far had reached $1.25bn.
Admiral Thad Allen of the US Coast Guard told reporters that BP is now aiming to use its “top-hat” containment dome as well as other pipes being readied at the well-head to siphon 20,000 barrels a day into waiting tankers.