Obama To Address Off-Shore Drilling
DAVID GREENE, Host:
This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene.
RENEE MONTAGNE, Host:
As BP began its latest attempt to stop the massive oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico yesterday afternoon, President Obama had this to say.
P: We will not rest until this well is shut, the environment is repaired and the cleanup is complete.
MONTAGNE: NPR national political correspondent Mara Liasson joins us now to talk about that. Good morning, Mara.
MARA LIASSON: Good morning, Renee.
MONTAGNE: What is the president expected to say when he holds a press conference later today?
LIASSON: Also he'll announce that planned exploration off the coast of Alaska is going to be delayed. That means that Shell Oil, which was going to begin exploratory drilling this summer on some Arctic leases, will not be able to go ahead, and some of those leases were as far as 140 miles offshore. He'll also announce that a number of other oil leases off the coasts in different parts of the country will be cancelled.
MONTAGNE: And the president is going down to the Gulf Coast tomorrow. Would it be fair to say that that is in part because he's taking heat for not being out in front of this spill, or not being tough enough on BP?
LIASSON: And the president needs to figure out a way to show that he's engaged and on top of this, even when so much of this catastrophe - in particular the effort to cap the well itself - is completely out of his control.
MONTAGNE: And Mara, yesterday the president was in California. He spoke at a solar panel factory. Is it politically feasible for him to use this crisis - I mean bad as it is, with these deaths and all - to push for alternative energy in the upcoming energy bill?
LIASSON: Now, whether he can actually get an energy bill passed is a whole other matter, because having expanded off-shore drilling in that bill was thought to be a way to get Republican support. But now that whole political equation has now been called into question, if not broken completely.
MONTAGNE: Mara, thanks very much.
LIASSON: Thank you, Renee.
MONTAGNE: NPR's Mara Liasson.
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