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White House answers oil response critics

July 1, 2010 at 11:57 PM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, July 1 (UPI) -- The Obama administration Thursday answered Republican criticism of its Gulf oil spill response, saying it's been "up front with the resources."

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., in a report Thursday, accused the administration of being more focused on the "public relations" aspect of the crisis than with "providing local officials the resources they need to deal with it," The Hill reported.

Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, the incident commander, said at a White House briefing "throughout the entire life cycle of the event we've been pretty up front with the resources that have been out there."

"You can always find a place where there's somebody on the beach not cleaning," Allen said, "where it's empty, and you can find a piece of water where there's no skimmer; it's just that big an area down there.

"But this thing has evolved from the start, and from a massive monolithic oil spill to thousands and hundreds of thousands of small patches of oil," Allen said. "It's required us to change our tactics, move to a more skimmer-based approach from the boom approach that was originally requested by the governors."

Issa's report charges the administration was slow to accept foreign assistance in dealing with the spill because of the Jones Act, a decades-old law that limits the activities of foreign vessels in U.S. waters.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs called that "a myth that has been debunked literally hundreds of times. There were already 24 foreign vessels that were operating in the Gulf before the State Department announced two days ago additional international assistance."

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