GRAND ISLE, LA. — President Obama will touch down in New Orleans later today, where he’ll meet with some Gulf state governors and be briefed by the National Incident Commander for Deepwater BP oil spill response, Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen, on the latest attempts to “plug the damn hole,” as Mr. Obama once put it, and to mitigate the environmental damage.
This visit to Grand Isle will differ from last week’s considerably. Unlike last week’s trip down here, President Obama is making a point today of meeting with local residents – not just their public officials. The mayor of Grand Isle, David Carmadelle, is putting together a group of locals with whom the president will meet.
Also on tap: the president will visit a staging area where boom is prepared for deployment. He will also meet with a Department of Homeland Security official who is helping people get their claims paid by BP.
This crisis is shaking up his schedule and impacting his agenda. Today’s trip was hastily arranged, and President Obama spoke last night with Prime Minister Kevin Rudd of Australia, and with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia to express his deep regret that he’s postponing – for a second time — his trip to their countries that was scheduled for later this month so as to focus on this crisis, among other items on his crowded day planner.
The damage is getting worse. Dr. Doug Inkley, senior scientist at the National Wildlife Federation, says the 29 stranded dolphins are 2 to 6 times the normal rate of dolphin strandings; and the 244 endangered & threatened sea turtle strandings in the spill area is 6 to 9 times the average rate.
As you may have seen on Good Morning America, the Grand Isle beach now has a thick orange water-filled dam to block oil and tar balls from proceeding further up the beach.
Watch our report here:
– Jake Tapper