Barton demands answers at oil leak hearing
WASHINGTON –Rep. Joe Barton,
R-Ennis/Arlington, ranking member on the House Energy and Commerce Committee,
made an impassioned statement at the start of the Wednesday, May 12 hearing investigating
the causes of the massive oil leak in the
The congressman – like everyone else - wants answers to what happened and wants to make sure this disaster isn’t repeated. To that end - he grilled the executives of the companies involved asking questions about the equipment used at the well and why several fail safes didn’t stop the leak.
But during his speech he also urged people not to overreact because we need off shore drilling to power our nation and keep us safe from our enemies.
Here is his entire statement or you can watch it by visiting – www.youtube.com/RepJoeBarton.
is nobody on either side of the aisle in this subcommittee or the full
committee that doesn’t want to get the facts on the table about what happened
down in the Gulf of Mexico approximately a month ago – why it happened and what
can be done to prevent it from happening in the future and remediate any
damages, both human and environmental. The 11 people that lost their lives is
the primary tragedy. The fact that 5,000 barrels of oil a day are spilling out
of the well and coming to the surface and beginning to wash up on some of the
want to focus on some of the things that Chairman Waxman said right at the end
of his statement when he made the comment about taking on the oil industry, as
if this was some sort of an adversarial situation between the people and the
industry. Nothing could be further from the truth. The
one of the few nations in the world that has let the private sector develop our
natural resource base. That has given us the most-productive economy, the
largest economy. The
in a situation now where, if we’re going to have additional domestic energy
production in a way that maintains our existing lifestyle, it is going to be
because we develop our natural resource base, both on and offshore. I have
absolutely no problem with the alternative energy sources, whether they be
solar, wind, ethanol, hydro, you name it. But there’s a reason that we’re an
oil-based economy. It’s because that barrel of oil, refined into all the
products that flow from it, have a tremendous, tremendous productivity
potential. You can take a gallon of gasoline and you can power a 4,000-pound
car with four adults in it at 60 miles an hour in air-conditioned comfort down
the highway, all the way from
“We do not want, on either side of the aisle, to have to import more and more foreign oil. Whether we like it or not, the only real place to find significant, additional oil deposits in meaningful quantities is in the Outer Continental Shelf.
“Now we’ve had an accident. It is not an act of God. The amount of pressure, the amount of gas and oil that came up that bore hole is something that was foreseeable. It is something that could have been and should have been contained. The blowout prevention equipment that was on that rig had a design capacity that should have controlled that explosion. It didn’t. The facts that we have uncovered in this investigation through the documents that have been provided show that there was, in all probability, shoddy maintenance. There were mislabeled components – the diagrams didn’t depict the actual equipment – but that was not an act of God, like a hurricane, earthquake or volcano that man can’t control.
“Through the efforts of this subcommittee, the full committee and some of the other committees, we’ll get to the bottom of it. We’ll find out the facts and we’ll take corrective measures to prevent that from happening in the future, whether it’s legislation, regulation or through best practices changes by the industry. But what we should not do, Mr. Chairman, is make a decision to fence off the Outer Continental Shelf and treat this as the equivalent of the Three Mile Island accident for nuclear power and set back domestic oil and gas production in the Outer Continental Shelf for the next 20 or 30 years. That would not only be a mistake, in my opinion, it would be a disservice to the American people.
I don’t want to ‘take on’ the industry. I want to work with the industry, I
want to work with the Congress, I want to find out what the problem was, I want
to solve that problem, and I want to move forward. I don’t want the
one well in the Gulf, though British Petroleum has not been explicit, that one
well probably has the potential to produce 50,000 barrels of oil a day. To put
that in perspective, there are 200,000 oil wells producing onshore in