By JAKE TAPPER, KAREN TRAVERS and SUNLEN MILLER
WASHINGTON, DC ( June 15, 2010 ) With the BP oil spill consuming his presidency, President Obama slammed the oil company for its "recklessness" and said the company will pay for the damage it has caused along the Gulf Coast.
Obama addressed the nation Tuesday night in an effort to convince the American people that the administration is on top of the growing economic and environmental crisis in the Gulf of Mexico, 57 days after millions of gallons of oil first began spilling from a damaged BP well.
In the first nationally televised address of his presidency delivered from the Oval Office, Obama laid out his administration's plans to clean up the oil, assist the struggling residents and business owners of the Gulf region and put in place procedures and safeguards to prevent a catastrophe like this in the future.
"We will fight this spill with everything we've got for as long it takes. We will make BP pay for the damage their company has caused," he said. "And we will do whatever's necessary to help the Gulf Coast and its people recover from this tragedy."
Obama slammed BP for its "recklessness" and said that when he meets with officials from the oil company Wednesday, he will inform them that they must set up a fund to compensate Gulf Coast residents and business owners who have been affected by the spill.
"This fund will not be controlled by BP. In order to ensure that all legitimate claims are paid out in a fair and timely manner, the account must and will be administered by an independent, third party," the president said.
Tonight the White House announced that Obama has tapped former Justice Department inspector general Michael Bromwich as his choice to head the Minerals Management Service, the agency that regulates the oil industry.
"His charge over the next few months is to build an organization that acts as the oil industry's watchdog -- not its partner," the president said of his choice to head the agency that has been criticized for being too close to the oil companies it was tasked with regulating.
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