[UPDATE: Read an update on the federal response to the oil spill from Press Secretary Robert Gibbs posted May 1, 2010.]
Earlier today, President Obama delivered remarks on the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico before talking about the economy. He explained that while BP is ultimately responsible for the costs of cleanup operations, the government has been discussing the response effort with BP and is prepared to help affected communities.
He announced that there are now five staging areas to protect sensitive shorelines along with federal response personnel in the area and response vessels and aircraft on the scene. The President also said that Secretary Salazar will conduct a thorough review of the oil spill and report on additional precautions and technologies that should be required to prevent future accidents.
So, let me be clear. I continue to believe that domestic oil production is an important part of our overall strategy for energy security, but I've always said it must be done responsibly, for the safety of our workers and our environment. The local economies and livelihoods of the people of the Gulf Coast as well as the ecology of the region are at stake. And we're going to continue to update the American people on the situation in the Gulf going forward.
The President then discussed the GDP report released today, which shows that the economy grew at a rate of 3.2 percent as opposed to last year during the quarter when it shrank at a rate of 6.4 percent. He explained that the number shows that the “economic heartbeat is growing stronger,” but that he measures progress by a different pulse – “the progress the American people feel in their own lives day in, day out.” The President stated that “the work of moving the economy forward remains our focus every single day.”
Now, government can’t replace every job that has been lost. That’s not government’s role. It is America’s business all across the country -- the private sector, businesses -- that have always been and will always be the engines of our job creation. Our task, then, is to create the conditions necessary for those businesses to open their doors, expand their operations, and ultimately hire more workers.
That’s precisely what we’ve tried to do by cutting taxes for small businesses; by backing thousands of loans supporting billions of dollars in lending; and by making targeted investments in the areas of our economy where the potential for job growth is greatest -– areas like clean energy.
He talked about Itron and A123 Systems, both companies that were able to capitalize their growth by taking advantage of the Advanced Manufacturing Tax Credit in the Recovery Act, which helped several companies hire more workers, add equipment, boost output, and promote American business in the clean energy industry.
In fact, this program was so successful that it was oversubscribed by a ratio of three to one. That’s why I’ve called for an additional $5 billion in investment into these projects to accelerate the creation of clean-energy jobs in America’s factories. Because every time a new factory or plant opens or expands in America, it becomes important to more people than the workers it employs; it becomes an economic lifeline to a community, capable of supporting dozens, or hundreds, or even thousands of jobs indirectly.