WASHINGTON, June 5 (UPI) -- President Barack Obama recorded his weekly radio address this week in Louisiana, talking of the hardship caused by the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Obama quoted Terry Vegas, who left school to join his grandfather as a shrimper. The shrimp beds are now off limits because of the spill.
"You can put a price on a lost season, but not on a lost heritage," Vegas told him.
Obama said on his trip to the Gulf Coast Friday he also met business people who depend on tourism and recreational fishing for their livelihood.
"These folks work hard," he said. "They meet their responsibilities. But now because of a manmade catastrophe -- one that's not their fault and that's beyond their control -- their lives have been thrown into turmoil. It's brutally unfair."
Obama said the government has mobilized an unprecedented response to the spill, with 20,000 people and 1,900 boats involved in the cleanup.
"We've also ordered BP to pay economic injury claims, and we will make sure they pay every single dime owed to the people along the Gulf Coast," Obama said. "The Small Business Administration has stepped in to help businesses by approving loans and allowing deferrals of existing loan payments. And this week, the federal government sent BP a preliminary bill for $69 million to pay back American taxpayers for some of the costs of the response so far."