WASHINGTON — Family members of the 11 men killed in the Gulf oil rig explosion say they're satisfied President Barack Obama and lawmakers will help them get just compensation for their loss.
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Widows, parents and other relatives spoke at a news conference Thursday with senators who want to change ancient laws that limit their compensation. They met earlier with the president.
The family members asked that their loved ones not be forgotten.
The father of victim Jason Anderson, Billy Anderson, notes that while wildlife can be saved, the victims of the explosion are gone.
President Barack Obama offered condolences to relatives of the 11 workers during a White House visit on Thursday.
Spokesman Robert Gibbs said Obama wanted to hear the families' thoughts on changes the government can make to ensure that future deepwater oil drilling is safe. Obama put a temporary halt to such drilling after the April 20 explosion off Louisiana's coast.
Asked whether Obama thought the families of the 11 men had been lost in the focus on efforts to stop the millions of gallons of crude that have been gushing from the broken underwater well, Gibbs said: "They are certainly not forgotten."
"They were the very first victims of what is a very long and sad tragedy," he said Wednesday.
Their bodies never were recovered.
The president's private meeting with the families in the State Dining Room was part of his effort to show the public — unhappy with the handling of the catastrophe by the government and oil company BP — that he is on top of the situation.
Obama met Monday with Cabinet officials involved in the oil spill response and reiterated his earlier warning to the British firm to not be "nickel-and-diming" business owners who are losing income because of the spill.
Obama has visited the Louisiana coast three times since the explosion, including stops last Friday and on May 28.
He plans to return Monday and Tuesday for a trip that will take him to affected areas in Mississippi, Alabama and Florida.
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