Thad Allen, a retired Coast Guard admiral and the government's front man in efforts to stop BP's oil spill over the summer, announced Friday that he was leaving his post, dpa reported.
Allen handed oversight of the
Gulf of Mexico oil spill response to Rear Admiral Paul Zukunft after coordinating the government's effort since the April 20 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig.
Allen had already been set to retire from the Coast Guard in the spring, but agreed to stay on to manage the oil crisis. The government battled for months with BP over how to close the spewing oil well and faced some criticism for a slow initial response.
"At a time when he could have enjoyed a well-deserved retirement ... Admiral Allen stepped up to the plate and served his country when his skills and experience were urgently needed," US President
Barack Obama said in a statement.
BP succeeded in permanently capping the ruptured oil well in mid- September, after nearly 5 million barrels of oil had spewed into the water and washed up along the US Gulf Coast.
"This unprecedented response effort simply could not have succeeded without Admiral Allen at the helm, and the nation owes him a debt of gratitude," Obama said.
The clean-up and recovery effort is ongoing for the Gulf Coast. Obama and BP have promised a long-term recovery plan.
"This response has been unprecedented in its scope and complexity," Allen said in a statement. "We cannot forget the 11 crew members that lost their lives" in the April 20 explosion.
Coast Guard's Allen, in charge of Gulf spill clean-up, leaves post
1 October 2010 22:36 (UTC+04:00)