UPDATE: Barbour not making trip to La. for Obama

JACKSON — Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour will not be among officials scheduled to visit Friday with President Barack Obama during the president’s tour of coastal Louisiana for an update on the oil spill.

Obama, interrupting a Memorial Day weekend trip to his Chicago home, planned to visit a beach set up with protective booms alongside Adm. Thad Allen, who is overseeing the spill response. Obama was then to travel to the U.S. Coast Guard Station in Grand Isle, La., to attend a briefing by Allen, and meet with several officials, including the governors of Louisiana, Florida and Alabama. He was spending about three hours in the region.

Barbour was scheduled to speak Friday at a groundbreaking for the Twin Creeks Technologies’ new solar panel production facility in Senatobia. The facility will create more than 500 jobs over the five years. The event was scheduled for 10:30 a.m.

Laura Hipp, a spokeswoman for Barbour, said Friday that the White House had invited Barbour to the meeting but the governor was committed to the Twin Creeks event.

“The governor has spoken to the president on several occasions and he believes the president is where he ought to be and that is Louisiana where the oil is coming on shore,” Hipp told The Associated Press.

“The governor is comfortable that Mississippi’s concerns about the oil spill are being heard by the president,” she said.

On Thursday, Barbour told a news conference in Biloxi, Miss., that he had no criticism for the Obama administration’s handling of the spill.

Barbour said he hoped the federal government would lift the moratorium on shallow-water drilling in the Gulf. He called it “uncalled for” and said he hoped it had already been lifted.

The Associated Press