The Pentagon has approved the use of two Air Force planes to dump chemicals on the oil spill threatening the Gulf Coast.
Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell said Friday that Defense
Secretary Robert Gates approved the operation by two C-130 Hercules cargo planes.
The planes were sent from Ohio to Mississippi Thursday to await
orders. A number of civilian planes have already been doing the
same job - using chemicals to try to break up the oil.
The federal government is working to determine how large a role
the military should play in the cleanup.
President Barack Obama is reassuring Gulf Coast communities that federal government is "fully prepared" to meet its responsibilities to them as a massive oil spill becomes a worsening environmental disaster.
The president said the oil company BP is ultimately responsible
for the crisis. But he sought to show that he and his team were in
command, trying to counter any perception that his government has
been slow to respond. Obama has dispatched top federal officials to
the scene; federal assets have also been deployed.
Speaking in the Rose Garden, Obama said he has ordered Interior
Secretary Ken Salazar to review what happened and report back
within 30 days. That review will examine what safeguards should be
put in place to prevent future spills.
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