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Obama To Visit Oil Spill Area

An oil slick (outlined in white) is pictured off the Louisiana coast in a satellite image taken on April 29.
The White House has said U.S. President Barack Obama will visit the area of a major oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico on May 2.

As many as 5,000 barrels of oil a day are thought to be spilling into the water after an offshore drilling rig exploded last week.

U.S. officials continue to criticize BP, the owner of the rig, for its handling of the disaster. Obama has said BP is "ultimately responsible" for the spill.

The oil has begun washing up on the Louisiana coast and is threatening also the states of Mississippi, Florida, and Alabama.

The oil spill is the worst in the United States in decades and is raising fears of severe damage to fisheries and wildlife refuges, among other environmental concerns.

The U.S. administration has banned oil drilling in new areas of the U.S. coast while the cause of the spill in the Gulf of Mexico is investigated.

compiled from agency reports