President Obama had some strong words for BP, and the oil drilling industry as a whole, today at the White House as he talked about the Gulf Coast spill.


While noting that BP has agreed to pay for the spill response effort, Obama criticized BP President and Chairman Lamar McKay, Transocean President and CEO Steven Newman, and Halliburton Global Business Lines President Tim Probert, who appeared before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee earlier this week.

"I have to say, though, I did not appreciate what I considered to be a ridiculous spectacle during the congressional meeting into this matter," Obama said, accusing the executives of "falling all over each other to point the finger of blame at somebody else...

The American people could not have been impressed with that display, and I certainly wasn't," Obama said.

BP owns the leaking well in the Gulf; Transocean owns and operates the rig; Halliburton was the contractor of the cement job that was supposed to seal the well.

The federal government shares responsibility for what's happening, and what has happened, in the Gulf, the president said, citing a "cozy relationship between the oil industry and the federal agency that allows them to drill."

Obama and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar plan to reform the Minerals Management Service, separating out its regulatory functions of inspecting rigs and approving leases.

The president was clearly agitated during his speech at the White House today, sounding stern and almost parental, scolding the companies and making his displeasure known.

"I will not tolerate more finger pointing," he said.

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