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As President Obama prepares to spend part of Memorial Day weekend in the Gulf area addressing the current oil spill, he’s taking steps to prevent future spills by putting a halt to new drilling until better cleanup and safety methods are in place. Details when you

Escalating his administration’s response to the disastrous Gulf oil spill, President Barack Obama plans to announce Thursday that a moratorium on new deepwater oil drilling permits will be continued for six months while a presidential commission investigates, a White House aide said.

Controversial lease sales off the coast of Alaska will be delayed pending the results of the commission’s investigation, and lease sales planned in the Western Gulf and off the coast of Virginia will be canceled, the aide said, speaking on condition of anonymity ahead of a midday Obama news conference. Those steps, along with new oversight and safety standards, are the results of a 30-day safety review of offshore drilling conducted by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar at Obama’s direction. Salazar briefed Obama on its conclusions Wednesday night in the Oval Office, the aide said. Salazar’s report says that he will not consider applications for permits to drill in the Arctic until 2011. Shell Oil is poised to begin exploratory drilling this summer on leases as far as 140 miles offshore.

While Obama’s plans aren’t popular with many Alaskans who depend on the oil industry for their economy, this definitely sounds appropriate. The Gulf Coast spill is now the biggest disaster of its kind in US history, but engineers working on the project said this morning they’d managed to temporarily stop the flow

Engineers have at least temporarily stopped the flow of oil and gas into the Gulf of Mexico from a gushing BP well, the federal government’s top oil-spill commander, U.S. Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, said Thursday morning.

The “top kill” effort, launched Wednesday afternoon by industry and government engineers, had pumped enough drilling fluid to block oil and gas spewing from the well, Allen said. The pressure from the well was very low, he said, but persisting. The top kill effort is not complete, officials caution.

It’s great news that the spill has been temporarily stopped, but a permanent solution needs to be found.

It’s great that Obama has put his foot down with the oil companies — but need we express how disastrous this spill has been for his career? Some people are saying this is his “Hurricane Katrina”.

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