Seated at a picnic table, following a morning briefing from Admiral Allen on the oil spill, President Obama said that perceptions and fears about oil in the water – even in some unaffected areas – are still harming local businesses.
“When you look out over this unbelievable beach, one of the things that you can see is that so far at least this beach has not been affected, “the president said from the Fish Sandwich Snack Bar in Pensacola, Florida, “ but there are obviously fears about the oil that is offshore.”
Moments earlier the president had walked the beach with Florida Gov. Charlie Crist amid shouts of “save our beach” from locals gathered in the area.
The two strolled down the public area of Casino Beach on Pensacola Beach, and walked up the water’s edge. There were no tar balls or oil visible from where they stood in the water or around on the white sand beach.
The president said that he is making sure that there are proper skimmers, boom and everything possible with response to make sure the keep the oil offshore, but that there is still a perception problem that has an impact on the entire local economy.
To help with local response Obama touted that Admiral Thad Allen has assigned deputy incident commanders to each of the individual states, “designed to make sure that on the federal response we are able to work and make decisions at a local level in response to the suggestions of people who know the communities best and know the waters best.”
The president briefly mentioned his Oval Office address this evening and his meeting tomorrow with BP officials at the White House.
“The other thing that we’re hearing here is the same thing we heard yesterday, which is businesses need help right now. I’m going to be addressing this evening, the issue of how we can make sure that claims to businesses that have been affected are responded to quickly and fairly,” Obama said, “ I’ll be meeting with BP chairmen and officials tomorrow to discuss the stories that I’ve heard.”
-Karen Travers and Sunlen Miller