The Gulf Coast has been hit with the worst oil spill it has had in the region’s entire history — and event about to exceed the Exxon Valdez disaster in Alaska. When President Obama announced that he was opening up some coastal areas to off-shore drilling, my initial reaction was “Are you kidding?”

I love seafood, and I said as much on the White House blog after the announcement. Since the explosion and fire on British Petroleum’s deepwater oil rig, there has been no sign of the 11 missing oil workers. Now attention has shifted to the environmental impact which up until recently, was downplayed since the explosion. Here we have a situation where everyone loses. The oil spill will cost fisheries millions of dollars in lost revenues. Louisiana opened shrimp season early (6 PM yesterday) in some areas. It may be too late. And of course, wildlife is threatened in the coastal wetlands Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, and Texas.

According to the New Orleans Times-Picayune:

A pungent fuel smell is wafting over much of the New Orleans area, and residents curious about its source have been jamming government phone lines for information.

Governor Bobby Jindal (R-LA) issued a state of emergency.

American Public Media’s “Market Place”‘s Stephen Beard interviewed Peter Kemp of Energy Intelligence of London. The transcript reads:
Peter Kemp: Those groups and forces that are vehemently opposed to any further opening up offshore will obviously get a boost from this calamitous accident.

Ya think?

Daily Kos posted a partial quote from President Obama’s town hall meeting in South Carolina:

I don’t agree with the notion that we shouldn’t do anything. It turns out, by the way, that oil rigs today generally don’t cause spills. They are technologically very advanced. Even during Katrina, the spills didn’t come from the oil rigs, they came from the refineries onshore.

Think Progress’s Wonk Room has the video and more debunking here.

I wonder how that off-shore drilling’s looking to the President now?

Well, today on “Good Morning America”, Senior White House Advisor David Axelrod announced that the White House has put a hold on new offshore drilling projects until they get some answers from the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

The President is about to make comments – Live from the White House
Update: Video from the White House press conference recorded earlier today.