* Ms. RICHARDSON. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of H. Res. 1347, which honors the lives of the 11 workers who were tragically killed in the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon offshore oil platform off the coast of Louisiana. It also commends the rescue workers who courageously responded to the explosion. They showed tremendous strength by risking their lives to save those of others.
* I thank Chairman Towns for his leadership in bringing this bill to the floor. I also thank the sponsor of this legislation, Congressman Melancon, for honoring the individuals who lost their lives in the explosion. In addition, I would like to commend the Congressman for his commitment to serving the people of South Louisiana and promoting the interests of the Gulf Coast region throughout the many challenges it faces. Congressman Melancon is a champion of South Louisiana's hard-working people, ecologically unique coastal environment, and nationally cherished culture.
* My thoughts and prayers go out to the families and friends of the 11 individuals who passed away in the explosion. I know that they will be missed by their neighbors, friends, and coworkers, but most of all by their families, who will mourn their loss more than we can imagine. The men who passed away on April 20, 2010, were loving husbands, sons, and brothers. We must offer our support and care to their families in this time of need.
* Hopefully, this tragic event can serve as a poignant reminder of the need for strong regulations and workplace protections in the offshore oil and gas industry. Measures must be put in place to ensure that a disaster of this kind never happens again. Offshore oil and gas exploration is a line of work that inevitably carries personal safety risks. However, with frequent safety checks, more stringent regulations, and the implementation of the most modern technologies, we can mitigate these risks and promote the safety and wellbeing of all workers in the industry.
* In addition to the tragic human cost of the explosion, the resulting oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico continues to pollute and degrade the vital ecosystems in the Gulf and the surrounding coastal regions. We are only beginning to feel the massive environmental toll of the spill, which is likely to devastate an environment that is the backbone of the South Louisiana economy and on which thousands of individuals depend for their livelihood. We must stand in solidarity with the people of the Gulf Coast region. We must work to limit the impact of the spill, clean up the damage that has already been done, and hold the responsibile parties accountable. The costal environment and culture of south Louisiana are national treasures. We must work day and night to ensure that the damage endured is not irreparable.
* Again, I extend my deepest condolences to the family of the individuals who were tragically killed in the explosion. The thoughts of our Nation are with them as they grieve the loss of their loved ones. I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting H. Res. 1347.