Today, Rep. Joe Pitts (PA-16), spoke at the opening of a hearing on combating the BP oil spill. Rep. Pitts serves on the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and the Environment which has primary oversight over federal energy policy. The subcommittee received testimony today from administration officials overseeing the cleanup including EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson.
Rep. Pitts' statement follows:
"Mr. Chairman, thank you for holding this hearing on the BP oil spill.
"I want to begin my comments today by expressing my deepest regrets to the family members and friends who have lost their loved ones.
"This is a tragic event. Not only have lives been lost, but an unknown amount of oil has been leaked into the ocean, causing great damage and horrible effects, some of which we know now and some of which will take years to discover.
"In the wake of this event, questions regarding the cause of the explosion and leak have naturally arisen, along with questions on the appropriateness of response from BP and the Administration.
"Particularly, I'm eager to hear from our witnesses today regarding whether or not sufficient response plans were put in order before the incident occurred. And, if they were, whether or not they're currently working.
"It seems to me that the federal response has been not only disjointed but confusing and frustrating for those on the ground trying to bring relief.
"A prime example would the EPA's convoluted instructions regarding the use of dispersants.
"In addition, Louisiana Governor, Bobby Jindal said on Monday, that "We've been frustrated with the disjointed effort to date that has too often meant too little, too late for the oil hitting our coast.' This is incredibly disappointing.
"As I've said, this is a tragic event. We need to make sure due diligence is done in investigating the causes and the appropriateness of response in the aftermath.
"However, we need to make sure the response of this body and the Administration is prudent--one that still encourages our country's energy security and independence."