US President Barack Obama promised on Saturday to use "every resource" of his government to help residents of the Gulf of Mexico coast recover from the worst environmental disaster in US history caused by a giant oil spill.
"So we will continue to leverage every resource at our disposal to protect coastlines, to clean up the oil, to hold BP and other companies accountable for damages, to begin to restore the bounty and beauty of this region - and to aid the hardworking people of the Gulf as they rebuild their businesses and communities," Obama said in his weekly radio address.
His comments were broadcast from Grand Isle, a Louisiana community that is bearing the brunt of the spill.
An estimated 20 million gallons of crude has poured into the Gulf since an April 20 explosion tore through the BP-leased Deepwater Horizon rig, 50 miles (80 kilometers) off Louisiana.
Eleven workers were killed in the blast, and Obama, who toured the disaster area on Friday, will meet their families in a White House ceremony next week.
The president said the spill had not just damaged livelihoods, but "upended whole communities," and local residents were angry not just about the money they had lost, but because of "the wrenching recognition that this time their lives may never be the same."
Obama said that energy giant BP had now placed a cap over the well and appeared to be "making progress" in trying to pump oil to the surface to keep it from leaking into the water.
But he acknowledged that "regardless of the outcome of this attempt, there will still continue to be some spillage until the relief wells are completed."
Obama noted that his administration had ordered BP to pay economic injury claims and sent the company a preliminary bill for 69 million dollars to pay back some of the costs of the clean-up.
And he promised to do everything necessary to prevent such environmental disasters from happening again.
"If laws are inadequate - laws will be changed," he said. "If oversight was lacking - it will be strengthened. And if laws were broken - those responsible will be brought to justice."