This week, the House is continuing their full inquiry into the disaster and demanding answers from all the players including BP, Transocean and Halliburton. On Tuesday, top executives from the big five oil companies testified before the House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Energy & Environment and the Natural Resources Subcommittee on Insular Affairs, Oceans and Wildlife Resource Allocations heard from NOAA and the Fish and Wildlife Service.
Yesterday, the Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Health held a hearing on the health effects of the oil spill and how the Department of Health and Human Services is responding. Oil spills pose health risks for both responders involved in the cleanup activities and individuals living and working in the affected communities–past spills have shown health risks include inhaling toxic vapors, physical contact with the oil through skin contact or ingestion, and psychological stress in confronting the devastation.
Today at 10 am EST, BP CEO Tony Hayward will testify before the House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight & Investigations. The hearing will examine BP’s role in what caused the explosion and the oil spill that continues to spread across the Gulf of Mexico.
Also today, the Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources is holding a hearing on the Minerals Management Service (MMS) regulations and the Transportation & Infrastructure Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation is holding a hearing on the regulations of oil rigs and other vessels flying under foreign flags when in American waters.
Congressional oversight is already yielding key findings–the Energy and Commerce Committee has found evidence BP took measures to cut costs in the weeks before the catastrophic blowout in the Gulf of Mexico from internal BP documents. In a letter to BP CEO Tony Hayward, Chairmen Waxman and Stupak noted at least five questionable decisions BP made in the days leading up to the explosion such as using the more risky option for the well casing and rejecting the testing the integrity of the cement. They write, “BP appears to have made multiple decisions for economic reasons that increased the danger of a catastrophic well failure.” Watch the hearing webcast live at 10am»
Instead of standing up for the people, businesses and environment of the Gulf, House Republicans continue to side with Big Oil. In fact, some held a news conference this week to demand more offshore drilling when oil is still spilling into the Gulf, we’ve discovered an appalling lack of response plans, and we don't yet know how to improve the safety of offshore drilling.
As Speaker Pelosi has said, “the disastrous BP oil spill is a harsh reminder of the price we are now paying for the Bush Administration and Republican Congress placing the employees of Big Oil in charge of regulating their own industry…our energy policy must move in a New Direction.”