Last week, I met with Interior Department Secretary Ken Salazar to discuss the potential economic impact of the deepwater drilling moratorium. Regardless of your feelings on the moratorium, most will agree that any pause in drilling should last only as long as necessary to ensure future oil platforms are as safe as technologically possible. Another oil spill would be catastrophic and would obviously further exacerbate the tragic situation in the Gulf Coast. There is simply no margin for error. Secretary Salazar assured the bipartisan group of legislators that the administration is working on efforts to mitigate the economic impact of the moratorium.
Meanwhile, millions tuned in on Thursday to watch the Energy and Commerce Committee question BP CEO Tony Hayward. During the debate, Ranking Member Joe Barton from Texas made the unbelievable gesture of apologizing to Mr. Hayward for his company agreeing to set up a $20 billion account to pay for damages from the oil spill. Apologies like Mr. Barton's have no place in this debate and poured salt on the wounds of the millions of Gulf Coast residents feeling the effects of this oil spill. In no way does BP deserve any kind of apology.
Mr. Barton has since apologized for and retracted his comments, but he must realize that words have consequences. Reps. Jo Bonner (AL) and Jeff Miller (FL), who represent coastal areas south of the Second District, have called on Rep. Barton to step down from his leadership post. Moving forward, I hope Mr. Barton thinks hard about the ramifications of his words and their long-term effect on the response to the oil spill. BP must be held accountable for its actions.
As always, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call our offices in Montgomery at (334) 277-9113, Dothan at (334) 794-9680, Opp at (334) 493-9253, or Ozark at (334) 445-4600. You can also visit the website at www.bright.house.gov to sign up for the e-newsletter. It is my great pleasure to serve you and the entire Second District of Alabama.