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Monday: Obama to Receive Briefing on Spill Progess; Tornadoes Kill 7 in Ohio

oil spill bird rescue

A bird rescue team captures an oiled pelican for cleaning Sunday on Cat Island in Barataria Bay near Grand Isle, Louisiana. Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images.

Despite increased estimates over the weekend for the amount of oil BP is siphoning from the ruptured well in the Gulf of Mexico, Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen warned Sunday that the worst oil spill in U.S. history could continue into the fall.

Allen, who is in charge of the federal response to the disaster, will brief President Obama and Cabinet members Monday at the White House. The daily press briefing, which normally takes place in the afternoon with press secretary Robert Gibbs, will be at 10 a.m. ET and will be conducted by Allen.

Meantime, the spill’s effects appear to have spread to Texas. A wildlife report issued Sunday by the government command center in Robert, Louisiana, said two dead birds with oil on them were found in Texas, but didn’t elaborate on the circumstances. Dozens of dead birds have been found in the other Gulf states.

The Washington Post’s Michael Shearer notes:

[I]t seems clear that Obama will have a delicate balance ahead of him: How to increase the restrictions and safety rules on oil drilling while recognizing that such activity is critical for the economies of the country and of the gulf region.

Slate’s Daniel Gross believes the president’s dilemma is just a sign of the times:

We’ve entered an age in which the production of energy, especially from fossil fuels, demands ever-more-expensive environmental trade-offs. We’ve entered what Michael Klare, professor at Hampshire College, calls the era of ‘extreme energy.’

The Times-Picayune reports that raising the industry liability cap in the wake of Gulf oil spill has become a partisan issue:

Despite broad agreement that the current $75 million cap on industry liability for oil spills is woefully inadequate, there’s little consensus in Congress on how much to raise the ceiling in the wake of the ongoing tragedy in the Gulf. And it being an election year, Democrats and Republicans are accusing each other of protecting the profits of big oil companies.

So far, the cost of the spill for BP stands at $1.25 billion. Part of the costs: BP has opened 25 claims offices across the Gulf and sent $46 million in checks so far to some 17,500 Gulf Coast residents for their lost income, reports the New York Times. Many say it’s not enough.

Tornadoes Rip Through Ohio, Kills 7

Seven people were killed, at least 50 homes were destroyed and another 50 severely damaged, after a series of powerful storms ripped through northwest Ohio over the weekend.

A tornado that struck northern Wood County late Saturday evening had winds estimated between 135 and 165 miles per hour and was on the ground for 8 to 10 miles, according to the National Weather Service in Cleveland.

Two New Jersey Men Accused in Terror Plot to Appear in Court

Two men from New Jersey who were arrested on Saturday for trying to leave the U.S. to join an al-Qaida-linked group in Somalia will appear Monday in federal court in Newark.

Mohamed Mahmood Alessa, 20, and Carlos Eduardo Almonte, 24, were arrested at John F. Kennedy Airport for trying to fly to Egypt and then continue on to Somalia to join al-Shabab, which was designated by the U.S. as a terrorist group in 2008.

Obama Nominates Clapper for National Intelligence Chief

President Obama nominated retired Air Force Lt. Gen. James R. Clapper Jr. for the position of director of national intelligence on Saturday. If confirmed, Clapper will be the fourth official since 2005 to oversee the nation’s 16 intelligence agencies. Clapper would replace Dennis Blair, who resigned under pressure at the end of May. The position of director of national intelligence was created after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

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