Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Oprah Winfrey powerfull star

Oprah Winfrey is queen. The talk show hostess reigns atop Forbes' annual list of The World's Most Powerful Celebrities.

Winfrey, who earned $315 million over the past year, regained the No. 1 spot from Angelina Jolie, who fell to No. 18 in the ranking of the richest.

Beyoncé rose two notches to No. 2, raking in $87 million. Jay-Z must be happy, though he's at 15.

James Cameron came in at 3, which isn't a big surprise since his sci-fi hit Avatar was the highest-grossing film ever. Other women in the top 10 were pop shocker Lady Gaga (4), Britney Spears (6), Sandra Bullock (8) and good old Madonna (10). Rounding out the fattest bank accounts: Johnny Depp (9) and the entire band U2 (7).

And despite all his personal travails, Tiger Woods still made the No. 5 slot. The golfer earned $105 million between June 2009 and June 2010.

Next year will likely be a different story for Tiger, the mag predicts.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Coast Guard and Minerals Management Service officials pressed for answers, who was in charge

The six-member panel of Coast Guard and Minerals Management Service officials pressed for answers about what occurred on the rig on April 20 before it exploded. They required to know who was in charge, and heard contradictory answers.

Over six days in May, faraway from the familiar choreography of Washington hearing, federal investigators grilled employees concerned in the Deepwater Horizon calamity in a chilly, sterile conference room at a hotel close to the airport here.

They short of for more insight into an disagreement on the rig that day between a manager for BP, the well’s title-holder, and one for Transocean, the rig’s owner, and asked Curt R. Kuchta, the rig’s captain, how the crew knew who was in charge.

“It’s pretty well understood amongst the crew who’s in charge,” he said.

“How do they know that?” a Coast Guard investigator asked.

“I guess, I don’t know,” Captain Kuchta said. “But it’s pretty well — everyone knows.”

Looking annoyed, Capt. Hung Nguyen of the Coast Guard, one of the chief federal investigators, shook his head. The switch confirmed a surveillance he had made earlier in the day at the inquiry.

“A lot of activities seem not very tightly coordinated in the way that would make me relaxed,” he said. “Maybe that’s just the way of business out there.”

Investigators have paying attention on the minute-to-minute decisions and breakdowns to know what led to the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon, killing 11 people and setting off the largest oil spill in United States history and an environmental tragedy. But the lack of coordination was not limited to the day of the detonation.

New government and BP credentials, interviews with experts and testimony by witnesses present the clearest indication to date that an assortment of oversight agencies granted exceptions to rules, allowed risks to build up and made a disaster more likely on the rig, particularly with a mix of different companies operating on the Deepwater whose interests were not always in sync.

And in the aftermath, arguments about who is in charge of the cleanup — often a signal that no one is in charge — have led to delays, distractions and disagreements over how to cap the well and defend the coastline. As a result, with oil continuing to gush a mile below the surface in the Gulf of Mexico, the laws of physics are largely in control, creating the daunting challenge of trying to plug a hole at depths where equipment is straining under more than a ton of pressure per square inch.

Tad W. Patzek, chairman of the Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering Department at the University of Texas, Austin, has analyzed reports of what led to the explosion. “It’s a very complex operation in which the human element has not been aligned with the complexity of the system,” he said in an interview last week.

His conclusion could also apply to what occurred long before the tragedy.

Friday, 4 June 2010

Nation mourns as death toll rises

Nation mourns as death toll rises
117 bodies recovered, families to be given compensation

The nation mourns the dead today as the death toll from Thursday’s fire in eight buildings in Old Town of Dhaka increased to 117 till Friday evening, casting a pall of gloom everywhere.
The air had weighed heavy over Old Town, a closely woven society, since the fire, the deadliest ever in Dhaka, broke out about 9:00pm on Thursday with the grownup losing their wife and children and the children losing their parents and elders.
At least eight bordering buildings went up in flames after, according to the residents, an electrical transformer in an electric pole exploded reportedly by a lightning strike as a storm began at the time.
More than 150, mostly women and children, were injured as the fire continued burning for two hours. Plasters flaked off the building walls at the impact of the explosion of the transformer and the buildings burned black.
The government on Friday announce a national mourning day for Saturday in a mark of respect to the deceased.
The president, Zillur Rahman, the prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, and the leader of opposition in the parliament, Khaleda Zia, in separate messages on Friday expressed their shock at the loss of lives in the fire.
They prayed for the salvation of the departed souls and offered their condolences on the deceased.
Hasina went to the DMCH burnt unit about 11:00am on Friday and said the government would bear treatment cost of all the patients and their rehabilitation. She also announced the government would open such burn units in the districts.
Khaleda along with her party leaders and activists visited the place of occurrence about 2:00am on Friday and announced to pay for the treatment of the patients.
Special payers were said in mosques, temples, churches and pagodas across the country on Friday seeking salvation of the departed souls.
The home ministry early Friday formed a three-member committee, headed by additional secretary Iqbal Khan Chowdhury, to investigate the incident and asked it to submit its report in seven working days.
Twenty-six of the injured were admitted to the burn and plastic surgery unit at Dhaka Medical College Hospital. Fourteen others were sent to Combined Military Hospital in Dhaka.
Fourteen of the critically injured suffered burn of at least 40 per cent of their body surface area, said physicians at the hospitals. Most of such patients had their respiratory tracts burnt.
The authorities cancelled the leaves of physicians in the emergency ward and the burn unit of Dhaka Medical College Hospital. Medical assistants from the defence joined DMCH staff in providing treatment.
The reason behind the fire, however, was yet to be established, officials of the Fire Service and Civil Defence, which carried out the rescue operation, said.
But rescuers suspected the transformer explosion caused by a lightning strike was behind the fire, which spread to a chemical warehouse and the bordering buildings at Nabab Katara of Nimtali in Old Town.
Saddam Hossain, manager of the Shefali Bakery just opposite the electric pole with the transformer, however, said he had seen smoke billowing out of the chemical shop and the transformer exploded within minutes.
The fire fighters could hose down the flames about 12:00am, the Fire Service and Civil Defence director general, Brigadier General Abu Nayeem Mohammed Shahidullah, told New Age on Thursday.
Twenty-three fire engines from eight fire stations, local administration, army, police and Rapid Action Battalion personnel, Red Crescent volunteers along with the local residents, carried out the rescue operation overnight.
Fire fighters entered most of the houses that were burnt during the rescue operation and recovered the bodies from houses on holdings 43 to 48.
The 14 independent engineering brigade of the Bangladesh Army joined the operation about 2:30am on Friday.
Abu Nayeem formally called off the rescue operation about 5:00am in consultation with the local people and experts, claiming that there were no bodies in the debris. ‘But a small fire unit was deployed to assist the local people.’
The Dhaka deputy commissioner, Muhibul Haque, said the death toll had hit 117 till Friday evening and the figure is inclusive of a woman, a child and a man who died in hospital on Friday. One hundred and two bodies were handed over to the families. Six bodies were kept in the Mitford Hospital morgue and nine in the DMCH morgue till the evening. The 15 bodies are yet to be identified.
The fire service and civil defence, however, said they had pulled out 93 bodies from the debris and almost all of them could be identified. Unofficial sources again put the death toll at 97 till Friday evening.
Executive magistrate Mohammad Alamin, who handed over the bodies to the families, about 10:30pm on Friday said 92 bodies had so far been handed over and eight other bodies, yet to be identified, remained in the morgues of Dhaka Medical College Hospital and Mitford Hospital.
The district administration has given Tk 20,000 against each of the victims to the families to bear the funeral expenses, Muhibul said.
‘Tk 10,000 has been given to each of the injured admitted to hospital. Tk 20,000 will be given against each of the victims to the families for rehabilitation,’ he said.
Dhaka Medical College Hospital resident surgeon HA Nazmul Hakim said may died because of excessive heat and smoke caused by the burning chemicals after a baker’s which had several large gas burners had caught fire.
An engagement programme was going in a house in one of the buildings, said a local resident, who was standing there when the fire broke out.
‘Most of the family members but the bride and the groom died in the fire. The bride, Runa Akhtar, and the groom, Jamil Reza, were in a beauty parlour at the time,’ Akbar Hossain, a resident of the area, said on Friday.
Local people said most of the buildings housed shoe factories on the ground floors and the chemicals helped the fire to spread fast. And on both sides of the alley, there were wholesale shops of scrap iron and waste papers.
Mohammad Ripon, a resident of Nabab Katara in the Azimpur graveyard on Friday said he had asked Mohammad Faruque, another resident of the area, not to open chemical shop and set up a warehouse, which helped the fire to spread fast, in the crowded area. ‘But he did not listen to me.’
Faruque lost 12 of his family in the fire. He and his brothers Guljar and Didar survived.
Residents of the Nimtali area, crammed with buildings leaving not enough area for emergency services, said the multi-storey buildings were haphazardly constructed and they had no fire escapes or fire safety measures.
Nazimuddin, a resident of the area who pulled out 50 of the bodies from the debris, said the society elders had submitted application to the government office concerned for relocation of small plastic and shoemaking factories that need to use chemicals and imposition of a ban on the establishment of warehouses to store chemicals. ‘The fire spread fast because of the chemicals kept in the warehouse.’
Nazmul, a resident of the area, echoed Nazimuddin. He said, ‘I have never seen volcanic eruption but on television screen. Burning chemicals flowing down the alley reminded me of such eruption.’
The Dhaka City Corporation chief executive officer, Abul Kalam Azad, told New Age the corporation would cancel the trade licences of small factories situated in crowded areas of Old Town.
‘Thursday’s fire left us with no option but to save the lives and property of the Old Town residents by cancelling the licence of such factories. We cannot afford another such accident,’ he said.

Nat’l Mourning Day today

National flag will fly at half-mast today as Bangladesh continued mourning those who died in the devastating fire in the Old Town of Dhaka on Thursday night.
The government announced National Mourning Day today for the victims of the Nimtali blaze and Begunbari building collapse. Special prayers will be offered at mosques and other places of worship across the country.
Special prayers were offered at mosques, temples and churches on Friday seeking blessings for the departed souls.
Cross section of people and different socio-political organisations, including president Zillur Rahman, prime minister Sheikh Hasina and leader of the opposition Khaleda Zia expressed deep shock at the loss of lives in the Old Town fire.
The prime minister and the leader of the opposition visited the people admitted to Dhaka Medical College Hospital with burn injuries.
President Zillur Rahman, in a condolence message, prayed for the salvation of the departed souls and also for the early recovery of the injured. He also expressed his deepest sympathy for the bereaved families.
The prime minister visited the hospital at about 11:00am cancelling all her scheduled programmes and stayed there for about half an hour enquiring about the treatment of the injured.
Earlier, in a condolence message she expressed deep shock at the huge casualties and sympathised with the survivors of the Nimtali tragedy.
She announced that the government would bear all costs for treatment of the injured people and that the victims would be rehabilitated.
Opposition leader Khaleda Zia visited the hospital early on Friday, mourned the dead and checked on the treatment of the injured and demanded compensation for the families of the dead.
Jatiya Party chairman HM Ershad, along with other leaders of his party, also visited the injured at the hospital shortly after Hasina left. Ershad demanded compensation for the victims.
The home minister, food minister, health minister, mayor of Dhaka City Corporation, state minister for LGRD and cooperatives and top government officials visited the spot.
The organisations which gave condolence messages included Zaker Party, Bangladesh Students’ Union, Communist Party of Bangladesh, Gana Forum, Sammilita Sangskritik Jote, 11-Party Alliance, Bangladesher Samajtantrik Dal, Jatiya Ganatantrik League, Bangladesh Nari Mukti Andolan and Workers Party of Bangladesh.

An unusual day for grave-diggers

It was quite unusual for Azeemuddin, who has been digging graves in the Azimpur graveyard for 20 years. He said he had never seen so many burials in a single day in the place.
Pallbearers, many walking down all the way from Nimtali amid rain, after the juma prayers on Friday carried coffins, one after another, of the people who died in the fire that broke out in eight buildings on Nazimuddin Road in Dhaka Thursday night. At least 117 were killed in the fire.
Passers-by found it hard to hold their tears.
Grave-diggers had dug 108 graves since the morning till 2:00pm, Azeemuddin said. ‘Thirty grave-diggers worked digging graves since morning in the east of the graveyard. After the war for independence, I have never seen such a large number of in a single day.’
The main roads leading to the graveyard from the Plassey crossing had been closed for some time after the juma prayers.
The Dhaka mayor, Sadeq Hossain, who attended the funeral said the city dwellers had never seen so many bodies being buried in a day at Azimpur.
The Chhati Mosque, close to the place where the fire broke out, has never witnessed so many funerals at a time, said Shabbir, a neighbour of the victims.
The entire Old Town, which is a closely knit society, was in a pall of gloom with special prayers in mosques after the juma prayers for the departed souls.
There is hardly anyone left to console the bereaved families as everybody had lost someone.
A birthday and a death
Staff Correspondent

Mohammad Ripon could not celebrate the first birthday of his nephew, Rabid, as the child died in the fire at Nimtali in Old Town minutes before he could cut the cake his uncle had bought for him.
Rescuers found dead the child and his mother in a tin-shed house at 153, Nabab Katara, one of the six houses that burnt in the fire in which a total of 117 people were killed. Rabid’s mother had closely held him to save the child from the fire.
Thursday was Rabid’s first birthday and his uncle Ripon, who works with a tailoring shop at Ramna Bhaban, headed home with a birthday cake. As he neared Nimtali, he saw the crowd and the fire.
Jostling his way through the crowd, he got to the house about 9:45pm but could not proceed further as the entire area was in flames.
He later found all of the family — the child’s mother Munni Begum, 40, aunts Ramiza Begum and Monwara Begum, sister Lovely Begum, 20, and the little Rabid — had died in the fire.
Ripon and his 16-year-old brother Swapan survived as they were out of home.
Ripon could not hold his tears receiving his brother-in-law Rezaul Karim’s phone call from Dubai but failed to tell him he was in the Azimpur graveyard.

Patients groan lying on
burn unit floor

The Burn and Plastic Surgery Unit of Dhaka Medical College Hospital is struggling to cope with a large number of burn patients after Thursday night’s devastating fire at Nabab Katara of Nimtali in the Old Town of Dhaka.
Physicians said the 50-bed unit is overburdened by patients as around 300 burn patients, including 250 old ones are taking treatment there.
‘Most of the patients are lying on the floor…We are facing serious problems in attending such a large number of patients,’ HA Nazmul Hakim, resident physician of the unit’s casualty block said.
Of the 43 patients from Nimtali fire incident admitted to the burn and plastic surgery unit, three died till Friday evening while two others in critical condition were undergoing treatment in the intensive care unit, Hakim said.
Fourteen others admitted to the DMCH with serious respiratory problems have been shifted to the Combined Military Hospital, he said.
‘Leaves of the staff, including physicians of burn and plastic surgery unit, and casualty and emergency unit of the DMCH have been cancelled until further notice to handle the large number of patients,’ hospital director brigadier general Shahidul Haque Mallik said.
Hakim said the authorities had called in 17 physicians from other departments of the hospital to attend the patients at the burn unit.
The hospital authorities also said that there was no shortage of essential drugs for treatment of the burn patients.
The water-based cream Silver Sulphadiazine USP, commonly used for the burn patients, is available in the stores of the hospital and can also be found in the market, project director of the burn and plastic surgery unit Samanta Lal Sen said adding that the drug was produced by a local pharmaceutical company.
A number of organisations have come forward with assistance for treatment of the people injured in the Nimtali blaze, said brigadier Mallik.
‘We have received medicines from various government organisations, including the army and the navy. Medicines needed for treatment of burn patients are also available at the hospital,’ he added.
Physicians of the unit said although the cream commonly used in the treatment for burn injuries is not very costly, a lengthy treatment increases the expenditure.
‘Cost of burn treatment is a little bit high as burn patients have to stay in hospital for quite a long time and also need other drugs for treatment,’ unit’s assistant professor Mrinal Kanti Das said

(Collected from new age)

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

BP oil slick drifted perilously close

DAUPHIN ISLAND, AL - JUNE 02: As Jake Brownlow and Megan Powell play on the beach, contract workers patrol the beach to pick up oil that washed ashore on a public beach on June 2, 2010 in Dauphin Island, Alabama. Oil believed to be from the Deepwater Horizon oil rig accident began to appear yesterday on the shores of Alabama. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
1:06 p.m. ET, 6/2/10

NBC, and news services
updated 7:19 p.m. ET June 2, 2010

PENSACOLA, Fla. - The BP oil slick drifted perilously close to the Florida Panhandle's famous sugar-white beaches Wednesday as a risky gambit to contain the leak by shearing off the well pipe ran into trouble a mile under the sea when the diamond-tipped saw became stuck.

Crews freed the blade from the pipe and were hoping to finish the cut later in the day. The plan was to fit a cap on the blown-out well at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico to capture most of the spewing oil; the twisted, broken pipe had to be sliced first to allow a snug fit.

"I don't think the issue is whether or not we can make the second cut. It's about how fine we can make it, how smooth we can make it," said Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, the government's point man for the crisis.

As the edge of the slick drifted within seven miles of Pensacola's beaches, emergency workers rushed to link the last in a miles-long chain of booms designed to fend off the oil. They were stymied by thunderstorms and wind before the weather cleared in the afternoon.

Forecasters said the oil would probably wash up by Friday, threatening a delicate network of islands, bays and white-sand beaches that are a haven for wildlife and a major tourist destination dubbed the Redneck Riviera.

"We are doing what we can do, but we cannot change what has happened," said John Dosh, emergency director for Escambia County, which includes Pensacola.

Since the biggest oil spill in U.S. history began to unfold April 20 with an explosion that killed 11 workers aboard an offshore drilling rig, crude has fouled some 125 miles of Louisiana coastline and washed up in Alabama and Mississippi as well. Over the past six weeks, the well has leaked anywhere from 21 million to 45 million gallons by the government's estimate.

The latest attempt to control the leak is considered risky because slicing away a section of the 20-inch-wide riser could remove kinks in the pipe and temporarily increase the flow of oil by as much as 20 percent. The cap could be placed over the spill as early as Wednesday.

If the strategy fails — like every other attempt to control the leak 5,000 feet underwater — the best hope is probably a relief well, which is at least two months from completion.

As the oil drifted closer to Florida, beachgoers in Pensacola waded into the gentle waves, cast fishing lines and sunbathed, even as a two-man crew took water samples. One of the men said they were hired by BP to collect samples to be analyzed for tar and other pollutants.

A few feet away, Martha Feinstein, 65, of Milton, Fla., pondered the fate of the beach she has been visiting for years. "You sit on the edge of your seat and you wonder where it's going," she said. "It's the saddest thing."

Officials said the slick sighted offshore consisted in part of "tar mats" about 500 feet by 2,000 feet in size.

County officials set up the booms to block oil from reaching inland waterways but planned to leave beaches unprotected because they are too difficult to defend against the action of the waves and because they are easier to clean up.

"It's inevitable that we will see it on the beaches," said Keith Wilkins, deputy chief of neighborhood and community services for Escambia County.

Florida's beaches play a crucial role in the state's tourism industry. At least 60 percent of vacation spending in the state during 2008 was in beachfront cities. Worried that reports of oil would scare tourists away, state officials are promoting interactive Web maps and Twitter feeds to show travelers — particularly those from overseas — how large the state is and how distant their destinations may be from the spill.

In other developments:

• Investors ran from BP's stock for a second day, fearful of the potential cleanup costs, lawsuits, penalties and damage to the company's reputation.

• President Barack Obama said it is time to roll back billions of dollars in tax breaks for oil companies and use the money for clean energy research and development.

• A pair of Democratic senators pressed BP to delay plans to pay shareholder dividends worth $10 billion or more. They called it "unfathomable" that BP would pay out a dividend before the total cost of the cleanup is known. BP had no comment.

• More fishing grounds were closed. More than one-third of federal waters in the Gulf are now off-limits to fishing, along with hundreds of square miles of state waters.

"I'm going to be bankrupt very soon," said fisherman Hong Le, who came to the U.S. from Vietnam and rebuilt his home and business after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 wiped him out. "Everything is financed. How can I pay? No fishing, no welding. I weld on commercial fishing boats and they aren't going out now, so nothing breaks."


Melissa Nelson reported from Pensacola, Fla., and Adam Geller from New Orleans. Associated Press writers Matt Sedensky in Pensacola, Travis Reed in Miami, Kevin McGill over the Gulf of Mexico, Darlene Superville and Pete Yost in Washington, Brian Skoloff in Port Fourchon, La., Mary Foster in Boothville, La., and Michael Kunzelman in New Orleans also contributed to this report.

Most endangered: Upper Delaware

Seven hydropower dams were built on the Coosa River in Alabama in the mid-1900s, but American Rivers wants the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to insist on protections for wildlife in the license for Alabama Power Co. to operate the dams for the next 50 years.
View related photos

updated 4:53 p.m. ET June 2, 2010

PHILADELPHIA - The Upper Delaware River in New York State, the source of drinking water for 17 million people, is the most endangered river in the United States, according to a new report.

It is one of 10 rivers on a list, compiled by U.S. environmental group American Rivers, which are threatened due to causes such as natural gas drilling, mining and poor flood management.

The Upper Delaware topped the list because of the threat of contamination from chemicals used in gas drilling in New York and on the Pennsylvania side of the watershed.

Gas drilling was also the reason why the Monongahela River in western Pennsylvania was rated ninth on the list.

Others endangered rivers include the Gauley River in West Virginia, which came in third and is threatened by mountain-top mining, and the Upper Colorado River, which is sixth and has been diminished by water diversions. The report said it could become "a shadow of its former self" if two new diversion projects proceed.

The Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta in California was second on the list, and Little River in North Carolina and Cedar River in Iowa rounded out the top five.

The Little River is under threat because of a proposed new dam. But American Rivers said the project could be avoided by improved water-efficiency methods and the expansion of existing reservoirs.

Sacramento River
Troubled water: 10 rivers at risk
Rivers across the nation are on an environmental group's annual list of the 10 most endangered U.S. waterways.

In the Upper Delaware campaigners are trying to prevent gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale, a major source of natural gas that lies beneath the river's watershed.

"This clean water source is threatened by natural gas extraction activities in the Marcellus Shale, where chemicals injected into the ground create untreatable toxic waste water," American Rivers said.

The group urged the Delaware River Basin Commission, an interstate regulator, to deny drilling permits to energy companies until it fully investigates whether a drilling technique called "fracking" poses a threat to the river's water.

American Rivers also wants Congress to pass legislation that would give the federal government oversight of the drilling industry, and require companies to meet requirements on disclosure of chemicals.

Other endangered rivers include the Upper Colorado River at No. 6, the Chetco River in southern Oregon, the Teton River in Idaho and the Coosa River in Alabama.

Obama pledges energy bill push

PITTSBURGH (Reuters) – President Barack Obama pledged on Wednesday to find Senate support for a bill to overhaul U.S. energy policy and called for an end to oil company tax breaks in the wake of the Gulf of Mexico spill.

Obama, in remarks at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, also predicted that a May jobs report to be released on Friday would show strong jobs growth.

The president had planned to focus his year on boosting jobs in the United States, where unemployment is hovering near 10 percent, but other issues -- healthcare reform, changes to financial regulation, and now the BP oil spill -- have distracted attention from that.

Obama, a Democrat, accused Republicans of sitting on the sidelines while his administration worked to rescue the economy and, with November congressional elections looming, used his speech to lambaste the opposition party for opposing initiatives from health insurance reform to tax cuts.

But the president said he would seek Republican support to pass energy legislation in the U.S. Senate despite strong resistance and a crowded legislative schedule.

"The votes may not be there right now, but I intend to find them in the coming months," Obama said, referring to a bill that is languishing in the Senate.

"I will continue to make the case for a clean energy future wherever and whenever I can. I will work with anyone to get this done. And we will get it done," he said to applause.

Senate Democrats are expected to plot strategy for dealing with energy and environment legislation in the coming weeks. Prior to Obama's remarks on Wednesday there was little evidence the Senate would take up a comprehensive measure this year.

Republicans are reluctant to hand Obama a political victory on energy ahead of the elections and have focused their criticism on his inability to lower the unemployment rate.

"It's clear from his harsh partisan rhetoric today that President Obama has run out of excuses for his broken promises on the economy," said John Boehner, the Republican leader in the House of Representatives, which has already passed an energy and climate change bill.

"Instead of creating the jobs and prosperity he promised, President Obama's 'new foundation' consists of more spending, more debt, more job-killing policies, and more permanent bailouts," Boehner said.


Obama said the oil spill should prompt Americans to acknowledge that the United States could not depend solely on fossil fuels in the future.

That meant tapping into U.S. reserves of natural gas, increasing the number of nuclear power plants, and rolling back "billions of dollars of tax breaks to oil companies so we can prioritize investments in clean energy research and development."

He said the United States could only pursue offshore drilling as a short-term solution to its energy needs and said U.S. dependence on fossil fuels threatened its security while putting the economy and the environment at risk.

The president has previously supported an expansion of offshore drilling as a way to garner Republican support for the energy bill.

"I understand that we can't end our dependence on fossil fuels overnight. That's why I supported a careful plan of offshore oil production as one part of our overall energy strategy," he said. "But we can pursue such production only if it's safe, and only if it's used as a short-term solution while we transition to a clean energy economy."

Obama also pushed his case for a system that would limit greenhouse gas emissions from industry, a key ingredient for the United States in a still elusive global agreement to fight climate change.

"The only way the transition to clean energy will ultimately succeed is if the private sector is fully invested in this future -- if capital comes off the sidelines and the ingenuity of our entrepreneurs is unleashed," he said.

"And the only way to do that is by finally putting a price on carbon pollution."

Putting a price on carbon will depend on the bill's movement in the Senate. Democratic Senator John Kerry has been hoping the full Senate would debate and vote on a bill in late June or early July, leaving enough time in September or October to work out a final bill with the House.

An Environmental Protection Agency economic analysis of the bill written by Kerry and independent Senator Joseph Lieberman is expected sometime in June.

(Writing by Jeff Mason; additional reporting by Richard Cowan; Editing by Cynthia Osterman and Eric Walsh)