Top officials to return to the Gulf Coast for oil spill response - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Top officials to return to the Gulf Coast for oil spill response

WASHINGTON, DC (WLOX) - At the direction of the President, Department of the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson and NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco will return to the Gulf region next week as part of the federal government's response to the BP oil spill.

This will be Administrator Jackson's fourth trip to the Gulf Coast to inspect coastline protection and cleanup activities. She'll also meet with community members to discuss ongoing efforts to mitigate the oil's impacts on public health and the environment.

A native of the Gulf region, Administrator Jackson will spend a total of six days on the ground, visiting Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. She plans to review plans for cleanup of oil-impacted wetlands and marshes, analyze scientific monitoring of dispersant use, and ensure that recovery and cleanup plans are proceeding quickly.

Secretary Salazar will make his eighth trip to the area to meet with top BP officials, federal personnel and government scientists in Houston to get a firsthand account of the on-scene direction and oversight of BP's efforts to cap the leaking well. He will also participate in discussions with state, local and business leaders to discuss the ways the administration is supporting their communities during this catastrophe.

Administrator Lubchenco will make her third visit to the affected area to meet with top government and independent scientists and engineers who are working with BP and coordinating efforts across the federal government to ensure the best science is used to assess and mitigate the BP oil spill's impacts to the environment.

President Obama visited the affected area for the second time Friday. He spoke to the frustration felt by those in the local community and across America and discussed extensively what he saw touring the tragedy this morning. The President also commended those in the area who have "rolled up their sleeves" to help with the clean up, saying that "we're in this together."

In total, senior administration officials have visited the region 28 times since BP's oil rig exploded on April 20—including trips by the President, National Incident Commander Admiral Thad Allen, Interior Secretary Salazar, EPA Administrator Jackson, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen, NOAA Administrator Lubchenco and SBA Administrator Karen Mills.

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