Today Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Henry A. Waxman released a statement on the record-breaking settlement between BP and the U.S. government over the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico:
"We have not yet recovered from this disaster and the families of those who lost their loved ones will never recover, but this is an important step in making sure that BP is held responsible for its actions," said Rep. Waxman. "BP's actions caused the death of 11 men and one of the largest ecological disasters our country has ever faced. They made decisions to put profits ahead of safety. The blowout was preventable; it happened because BP made a series of reckless decisions."
"The settlement does not end this process. BP will face a jury in a civil trial in 2013, and I'm hopeful that the other companies who played a role in this disaster will also face appropriate penalties for their actions. I commend the Department of Justice and the Attorney General for acting aggressively to hold BP criminally accountable."
As Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee in 2010, Rep. Waxman led the House investigation into the root causes of the oil spill and the alleged roles played by BP, the well owner; Transocean, the rig operator; and Halliburton, the well cementer. The Committee held nine hearings on the oil spill and its impacts on the environment and the coastal economies. It reviewed thousands of pages of documents, which revealed that BP and its partners made a series of risky decisions that undermined well safety and led to the catastrophic loss of well control. The Committee held hearings to question BP CEO Tony Hayward about the causes of the Deepwater Horizon explosion and to hear testimony from Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and former Interior secretaries to examine how weak regulatory oversight created the conditions surrounding the oil spill.
Following its investigation, the Committee crafted the Blowout Prevention Act of 2010 to establish new federal regulatory requirements to prevent future spills from offshore oil and gas wells. The bill was reported from the Committee with bipartisan support, and key elements of the bill were passed by the U.S. House of Representatives as part of the Consolidated Land, Energy, and Aquatic Resources (CLEAR) Act on July 30, 2010.