A top ranking Coast Guard commander was picked Saturday to coordinate the Obama administration's response to the Gulf oil spill
, as the White House sought to demonstrate that the president was on top of a crisis that grows worse by the day with crude oil seeping from an uncapped well.
Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Thad Allen, the national incident commander, will work closely with officials on the scene to make sure "every available resource" is thrown into the fight to contain the oil slick and minimize environmenrtal damage, the Department of Homeland Security announced.
"Admiral Allen has overseen Coast Guard efforts since the moment the incident began, when the agency responded quickly to the April 20 explosion in a search and rescue capacity in order to save lives," the department said. More than 100 workers were rescued after the blast on a BP rig in the Gulf of Mexico, but 11 were lost.
The White House, in an "update on administration-wide" efforts," said a national response team was coordinating the work of 16 federal departments and agencies that are working to contain the oil and protect fisheries, wildlife and recreation facilities. Obama has been in touch with the governors of affected states and his aides have been "holding regular calls with BP" executives, the administration said.
Nearly 2,000 federal personnel have been deployed to the Gulf. Obama plans to join them on Sunday.