Administration’s Role in Oil-Spill Cleanup Heightened

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Photo: Chris Graythen/Getty Images

The White House has stepped up its response to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, as the “rapidly growing slick” edges closer to the Louisiana coastline. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano called the leak a “spill of national significance” — a day after it was announced that the spill may be five times worse than initially estimated — and added a second command post in Mobile, Alabama, which will help manage the impact on the Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida coasts. Meanwhile, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has ordered an immediate review of 30 offshore drilling rigs and 47 production platforms. While the slick hasn't yet hit Louisiana, its residents are already dealing with an unpleasant harbinger of what may be to come: the Times-Picayune is reporting that, due to winds pushing the slick inland, New Orleans has been taken over by a "pungent" and "gag-inducing" smell that one resident described as what "it'd smell [like] if a bus was in front of you blowing out exhaust fumes right in your face."

White House Takes a Bigger Role in the Oil Spill Cleanup [NYT]