Statements and Speeches

I want to thank the Chairman for holding this hearing today on the Federal government's response to the recent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. 

 

My heart goes out to the folks impacted by this terrible accident - to the families of the eleven workers that died and those that were injured, and to the many businesses in the Gulf that continue to be impacted every day by the spill.

 

The accident in the Gulf has shown me that our dependence on fossil fuels is much more costly than we ever anticipated. And I think I can speak for most of my colleagues here in the Senate when I say that this accident is a devastating tragedy, and we must make sure that this kind of spill never happens again. 

 

Unfortunately, it seems we all share some blame for this disaster.  The companies involved; the regulating federal agencies; and quite frankly Congress. 

 

Today, I hope we can discuss what steps we all can take to make sure this kind of spill never happens again. Specifically, I want to know what processes are needed at the Federal level to ensure the burden of proof needed to show a company can stop an oil well from leaking is as strong as the burden of proof needed to show a company can start drilling for oil. 

 

Thirty years ago, we were able to learn from the worst nuclear disaster in U.S. history at Three Mile Island.  Today, the nuclear industry has one of the best safety records of any industry in the United States and that is mainly due to the diligence and high standards of the regulatory agency, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. 

 

Today, I hope we get to the bottom of this tragic accident and start moving the oil industry into a culture of safety we will be talking about for years to come.