WASHINGTON, DC. – Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and EPA administrator Lisa Jackson will be coming to the Gulf Coast Friday to check on the operations underway to try to mitigate the effects of the massive oil spill that has been pouring into the Gulf of Mexico since the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded Tuesday, April 22.
Napolitano made the announcement at a White House press briefing on the spill Thursday. During the briefing, officials said the spill is now a "spill of national significance."
A second command center on the spill will open in Mobile, Alabama, in addition to the one that was opened in Robert, Louisiana last weekend.
"We are being very aggressive and we are prepared for the worst case," Coast Guard Rear Adm. Sally Brice O'Hare said at the White House. Federal officials announced inspections would begin immediately of all oil rigs in the Gulf and subpoena powers would be used in the gathering investigation. But the priority was to support the oil company BP PLC in employing booms, skimmers, chemical dispersants and control burns to fight the oil surging from the seabed.
While the burn of oil in the Gulf of Mexico was successful Wednesday, officials said high winds and water conditions would not permit another burn Thursday, though additional burns are anticipated once conditions improve.