Obama unchanged on offshore drilling despite spill

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama has no plans to reconsider his proposal for new offshore oil drilling in the aftermath of an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the White House said on Friday.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said the administration had taken swift action to ensure the safety of workers and the environment after the spill, which on Thursday measured one mile by five miles.

Asked whether Obama had second thoughts on offshore drilling, Gibbs said, “No.”

Obama still believes that “we have to have a comprehensive solution to our energy problems,” and the spill did not open up new questions about his drilling plan, he said.

“We’ve taken swift action to ensure the safety of those that are there and to ensure the safety to the environment by capping the exploratory well,” Gibbs said.

“We need the increased production. The president still continues to believe the great majority of that can be done safely, securely and without any harm to the environment,” he said.

Oil appears not to be flowing from the sunken drilling rig and damaged well in the Gulf of Mexico, but hope was dimming as search continued for 11 workers missing in the disaster, the U.S. Coast Guard said on Friday.

The Transocean Ltd Deepwater Horizon sank Thursday after burning since Tuesday following an explosion while trying to temporarily cap a new well drilled for BP Plc 42 miles southeast of Venice, Louisiana.

Reporting by Matt Spetalnick; Editing by Will Dunham