U.S. Cabinet officials charged with overseeing the Gulf of Mexico oil spill met with Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal and other state and local officials today in southern Louisiana, less than 24 hours after Jindal demanded more help from the federal government to protect his state's delicate and complicated coastline. Solidarity between the federal government and Louisiana is being tested as heavy crude oil begins to lap upon beaches and damage wetlands. With Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano standing by his side, Jindal said during a press conference that "we need to make the federal government accountable."
Meanwhile, the messages of Napolitano and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar continued direct blame at BP. "We came to see what BP has done and not done," Napolitano said. "We continue to hold BP responsible as the responsible party, but we are on them watching them." Napolitano said that a government-run leak-estimate committee has been been created to determine how much oil has spilled into the Gulf. "We have formed an independent estimates group with the best scientists available within the federal government with peer reviews by others to estimate how much oil overall BP has now spilled," Napalitano said.
Salazar said the president's directive is clear.
"We have a pause in place and so until we make another announcement that the President will make some time in the future we are bringing things to a halt to learn some of the lessons putting safety measures in place and decide how we are going to move forward," Salazar said. "This President has always been thoughtful and he wants to make sure we are getting it right. The lessons from this will be learned."