Late Thursday, Admiral Thad Allen in his role of National Incident Commander, sent a letter to BP inviting them to attend a meeting at the White House on Wednesday June 16. Allen specifically said in the letter that President Obama will attend part of the meeting.
The letter reads, "As part of our ongoing communication, I request that you and any appropriate officials from BP, meet with senior Administration officials on Wednesday, June 16, 2010 to discuss these timely issues. President Obama will participate in a portion of this meeting."
The letter comes as many have been pressing for the Obama administration to meet and speak directly with BP officials including CEO Tony Hayward, something President Obama said earlier this week he has not yet done.
"I have not spoken to him directly and here's the reason. My experience is when you talk to a guy like a BP CEO he's going to say all the right things to me. I'm not interested in words, I'm interested in actions. And we are communicating to him every single day exactly what we expect of him and what we expect of that administration," Obama said on the Today Show on NBC.
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs has been hammered on that point all week. Today, Gibbs said he was expecting a meeting with the relevant heads of BP to occur soon, but had nothing concrete.
Meanwhile, late in the day Thursday, Dr. Marcia McNutt, the Director of the U.S. Geological Survey and Chair of the National Incident Command Flow Rate Technical Group, gave an update about the oil flow in the gulf. McNutt said it's possible that twice as much the amount of oil than previously thought may have been spilling into the gulf.
McNutt says as many as 50,000 barrels (2.1 million gallons) may have been flowing daily into the gulf before June 3 when the riser pipe was cut and a cap put on the pipe to contain the spill.