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Obama vows to make BP pay

US President Barack Obama pushed alternative sources of energy while vowing to make BP pay for the devastation caused by its oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, addressing the nation ahead of a key showdown Wednesday with BP executives.

business Updated: Jun 16, 2010 23:48 IST

US President Barack Obama pushed alternative sources of energy while vowing to make BP pay for the devastation caused by its oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, addressing the nation ahead of a key showdown Wednesday with BP executives.

Eight weeks into the crisis, oil continues to gush from the broken wellhead off the coast of Louisiana.

Obama has been powerless to stem the leak - the government doesn't have the technology to stop the spill, forcing Obama to rely on BP to fix it - and many Americans are angry at what they see as the government's slow response to their country's worst environmental disaster.

"We will make BP pay for the damage their company has caused," Obama declared in his first Oval Office address, a venue often reserved for matters of war.

That is now how Obama describes the oil spill, a "siege" on the shores of America.

The President also urged Americans and Congress to get behind his sweeping energy and climate change legislation, stuck in the Senate.

"Countries like China are investing in clean-energy jobs and industries that should be right here in America. Each day, we send nearly $1 billion of our wealth to foreign countries for their oil," he said.

"The tragedy unfolding on our coast is the most painful and powerful reminder that the time to embrace clean energy is now."

Obama's speech came on the eve of his meeting at the White House on Wednesday with BP executives, his first direct encounter with them since the April 20 explosion on an offshore oil well killed 11 workers.

BP chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg was invited and encouraged to bring other officials; BP chief executive Tony Hayward is also expected to attend.