Panama City Beach

August 15, 2010 by USA Post 

Panama City Beach, Florida (CNN) – President Obama toured the waters of Panama City Beach by boat on Sunday capped a weekend designed to promote a recovery in the region most affected by the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The president, first lady Michelle Obama and her youngest daughter Sasha stood at the bow of the boat trips to see porpoises jumping around.

Speaking before taking a Saturday afternoon with his daughter, Obama said his administration remains committed to ensure thorough cleaning and recovery of a region affected by the disaster – and expressed his hope that your holiday at the beach was to change public perception and soften the economic blow of the largest oil spill in U.S. history.

“As a result of the cleanup effort, the beaches along the Gulf Coast are clean, safe and open for business,” he said. “That’s one reason Michelle, Sasha and I are here.”

Panama City Beach was hit by tar balls and scattered patches of oil from the ruptured underwater and in the heart of the disaster. But the bulk of the spill hit farther west, near the mouth of the Mississippi River, and authorities are still struggling with the cleanup effort.

Obama said Saturday that “Our job is not finished, and we are not going anywhere until it is.”

‘This is a message that I wanted to come here and deliver directly to people along the Gulf Coast, Obama said after meeting government and business leaders in the town of Florida panhandle. “Because they’re men and women of this region have felt the burden of this disaster, they have seen with anger and dismay as their livelihoods and way of life were threatened in recent months.”

Visitors spent more than 34 billion and in 2008 in the congressional districts along the Gulf Coast, the maintenance of 400,000 jobs. The effects of oil spill on the tourism industry of the region could take up to three years and cost up to 22.7 billion and, according to ananlysis last month by Oxford Economics for the U.S. Travel Association.

Sunday marked one month from the BP property and would be restricted temporarily. Efforts to seal the well permanently are awaiting further evidence of the pressure that could take up to four days, the former Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen, said on Saturday.

In Gulf Shores, Alabama, a tourist town about 175 kilometers west of Panama City, Mayor Robert Craft told CNN that the last oil washed up on the white sand about three weeks ago, and visitors coming back.

“We do not know what to expect and certainly do not have experience dealing with it – no training, no history and every day is a different day,” he said. However, he added, “The beaches are clean and the water is open, and we still have the hope of saving much of this year.”

The disaster began with an explosion of April 20 aboard the offshore drilling rig Deepwater Horizon that killed 11 workers. More than 2 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico before the door closed and Obama said Saturday that the government will continue to monitor the oil in the ocean, as well as anyone who reaches the shore.

“We will not be satisfied until the environment has been restored, no matter how long it takes,” he said.

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