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CNN "CNN Newsroom" - Transcript


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REP. BART STUPAK (D), CHAIRMAN, HOUSE ENERGY AND COMMERCE SUBCOMMITTEE ON OVERSIGHT AND INVESTIGATIONS: I would like to comment that Mr. Melancon and Mr. Scalise are members of our committee. They also hosted us when we had the field hearing in New Orleans a few weeks ago, last week. And we had nine members go down, one of the largest field hearings we ever had. So you can see the interest in here.

I should also note that Ms. Jackson Lee is with us, not a member of the committee. She will not be allowed to ask questions, but we welcome her. And I know she's sat in on previous hearings we've had.

So, let's move on with our first witness.

Our first witness is Mr. Tony Hayward, who is the chief executive officer of BP PLC.

Mr. Hayward, it's the policy of this subcommittee to take all testimony under oath. Please be advised that you have a right under the rules of the House to be advised by counsel during your testimony.

Do you wish to represented by legal counsel?

I'm sorry. You're going to just have to press that button there, sir.


STUPAK: Do not.

OK. We also asked -- the committee asked if you would have a technical person with you so you could consult if we have some questions that you want to run by your technical person.

Do you have a technical person with you?


STUPAK: Could you state his name and position for the record, please?

HAYWARD: Mike Zangy (ph), drilling engineer.

STUPAK: OK. During your testimony, any time if asked a question you want to consult with that individual, please let us know. We'll give you a moment to do so before you answer, but you'd be the only one who could answer the question.

Is that clear?

Thank you.

And, Mr. Hayward, I'm going to ask you to please rise, raise your right hand, and take the oath.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you swear or affirm the testimony you are about to give to be the truth, the whole truth, nothing but the truth, in the matter pending before this committee?


STUPAK: Let the record reflect the witness answered in the affirmative. Mr. Hayward, you are now under oath. We would like to hear an opening statement from you. You may submit a longer statement if you wish, for the record.

But, if you would, please begin your opening statement. And let me, again, on behalf of all members of the committee, we appreciate your willingness to appear here today.

HAYWARD: Chairman Waxman, Chairman Stupak --



Suspend, please, sir.


STUPAK: Ma'am --


KING: You are watching the back of the committee hearing room. Tony Hayward had just begun his opening statement. It was perhaps inevitable. We knew there were protesters in the room as the committee hearing was getting under way a little more than an hour ago.

We saw them holding signs. A woman with her hands darkened, as if with oil, raising them and shouting at Tony Hayward just as he began his opening statement.

Chairman Stupak suspended -- asked Mr. Hayward to suspend. And now you see Capitol Police and other committee staffers trying to escort the protesters out of the room.

Again, it was inevitable, perhaps, given the emotions on this issue. You see a large media contingent in there as well.

Once these protesters are escorted out of the room -- you see others still in the room with signs -- the hearing will get back under way. Tony Hayward will begin.

He was just words, seconds into his opening statement. Mr. Hayward will resume momentarily, and we will keep an eye out for further demonstrations.

You see the large hearing room here, and you see Mr. Hayward sitting alone in the middle of that table, surrounded -- he does have staff and attorneys with him.

The chairman, Bart Stupak.

STUPAK: Those viewers in our audience, emotions run high on this issue. But we have a hearing to conduct here. We're going to conduct our hearing. It's going to be done with proper decorum. Mr. Hayward, when you're ready, ,we are going to start the clock over.

You may begin.

HAYWARD: Chairman Waxman, Chairman Stupak, Ranking Member Barton, Ranking Member Burgess, members of the committee, I'm Tony Hayward, chief executive of BP.

The explosion and fire aboard the Deepwater Horizon and the resulting oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Excuse me, Mr. Hayward. I'm going to ask you just to pull that up. Some of the members are having trouble hearing, probably over the clicking of the cameras. But we're having a little trouble hearing you. If you could just pull it a little closer.


HAYWARD: The explosion and fire on board the Deepwater Horizon and the resulting oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico never should have happened, and I'm deeply sorry that it did.

When I learned that 11 men had lost their lives, I was personally devastated. Three weeks ago, I attended a memorial service for those men, and it was a shattering moment.

I want to offer my sincere condolences to their friends and families. I can only begin to imagine their sorrow.

I understand how serious this situation is. It is a tragedy. I want to speak directly to the people who live and work in the Gulf region.

I know that this incident has had a profound impact on your lives and caused great turmoil, and I deeply regret that. I also deeply regret the impact the spill has had on the environment, the wildlife and the ecosystem of the Gulf.

I want to acknowledge the questions that you and the public are rightly asking. How could this happen? How damaging is the spill to the environment? Why is it taking so long to stop the flow of oil and gas into the Gulf?

We don't yet have all of the answers to these important questions, but I hear and understand the concerns, frustrations and anger being voiced across the country. And I know that these sentiments will continue until the leak is stopped and until we prove through our actions that we are doing the right thing.

Yesterday, we met with the president of the United States and his senior advisers. We discussed how BP could be more constructive in the government's desire to bring more comfort and assurance to the people of the Gulf Coast beyond the activity we've already done.

We agreed in that meeting to create a $20 billion claims fund to compensate the affected parties and pay for the costs to federal, state and local governments of the cleanup and environmental mitigation. We said all along that we would pay these costs, and now the American people can be confident that our word is good.

I've been to the Gulf Coast. I've met with fishermen, business owners and families. I understand what they're going through, and I promise them, as I'm promising you, that we will make this right. After yesterday's announcement, I hope that they feel we're on the right track.

I'm here today because I have a responsibility to the American people to do my best to explain what BP has done, is doing, and will do in the future to respond to this terrible accident.

First, we're doing everything we can to secure the well and, in the meantime, contain the flow of oil. We're currently drilling two relief wells. We believe they represent the ultimate solution. We expect this to be complete in August.

Simultaneously, we've been working on parallel strategies to minimize or stop the flow of oil. While not all have been met with success, it appears that our latest containment effort is now containing about 20,000 barrels a day. By the end of June, we expect to have equipment in place to handle between 40,000 and 50,000 barrels a day; and by mid-July, between 60,000 and 80,000 barrels a day.

Second, I've been clear that we will pay all necessary cleanup costs. We've mounted what the Coast Guard has recognized as the largest spill response in history. We've been working hard on the leadership of the Unified Command to stop the oil from coming ashore. And whilst we're grateful these efforts are reducing the impacts of the spill, any oil on the shore is deeply distressing. We will be vigilant in our cleanup.

Third, as I have made clear from the beginning, we will pay all legitimate claims for losses and damages caused by the spill. Those are not just words. We've already paid out more than $95 million, and we've announced an independent claims facility headed by Ken Feinberg to ensure the process is as fair, transparent, and rapid as possible.

Fourth, we need to know what went wrong so that we as a company and we as an industry can do better. That is why less than 24 hours after the accident, I commissioned a non-privileged investigation. I did it because I want to know what happened and I want to share the results. Right now, it's simply too early to say what caused the incident. There is still extensive work to do. A full answer must await the outcome of multiple investigations, including the marine report.

To sum up, I understand the seriousness of the situation and the concerns, frustrations, and fears that have been and will continue to be voiced. I know that only actions and results, not mere words, ultimately can give you the confidence you seek. I give my pledge as the leader of BP that we will not rest until we make this right. We're a strong company and no resources will be spared. We and the entire industry will learn from this terrible event and emerge stronger, smarter, and safer.

Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, Mr. Hayward.

One of the bad parts while conducting a hearing is we get interrupted every now and then by votes. And we have three votes pending right now. There's about 10 minutes remaining on this vote. I would suggest instead of trying to get into questions, we take a break right now. Let's stay in recess for 30 minutes. Let's come back at noon and continue the hearing. We'll start with questions from all of the members.

This committee will be in recess until 12:00 noon.


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