President Barack Obama has made four trips to visit gulf state communities affected by the BP disaster and now plans to give his first-ever Oval Office speech to the nation tonight to address the issue. This manmade calamity threatens the nation’s economy, health, and environment. This is also a crucial moment in the BP catastrophe, which threatens to swamp his domestic agenda. But it also provides an opportunity for President Obama to demonstrate leadership by tackling all the aspects of this crisis, including taking charge of the clean up, getting more help from BP, providing long-term public health and economic recovery, and adopting an oil-use and pollution-reduction reform agenda to minimize the likelihood of another catastrophe.
President Obama must use his speech to make a compelling and passionate case for comprehensive clean-up measures as well as an oil reform program. This is essential to galvanize public demand for immediate steps to reduce damage from the disaster, as well as more active support for longer-term oil use and pollution reductions.
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