June 15th, 2010
10:36 AM ET

GOP lawmaker: Let's just discuss how to 'plug the well'

[Updated at 10:16 a.m.] Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Texas, slammed Democrats at the start of a key House subcommittee hearing with oil executives Tuesday, arguing that the hearing was merely an "excuse for passing even more regulations" and increasing energy taxes "under the guise of clean energy."

We should just discuss how to "plug the well, stop the spill (and) clean the Gulf," he said. The Democrats are pushing an agenda that will further "cripple the economy," he said.

[Updated at 9:58 a.m.] Rep. Henry Waxman, D-California, said during a key House subcommittee hearing Tuesday that four of the five largest oil companies have produced oil disaster response plans for the Gulf of Mexico that discuss how to protect walruses, even though there are no walruses in the Gulf.

These are "cookie-cutter plans" that, in reality, are little more than "just paper exercises," he said.

The hearing was attended by the heads of ExxonMobil, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, BP and Shell Oil.

[Posted at 9:49 a.m.] Rep. Ed Markey, D-Massachusetts, ripped the heads of ExxonMobil, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, BP, and Shell Oil at the start of a key subcommittee hearing on Tuesday for producing oil disaster response plans that are "virtually identical." They all tout "ineffective identical equipment" and often use "the exact same words" in their plans, he said.

They have spent "zero time and money" in developing adequate response blueprints, he asserted.

Read Markey's full opening statement to oil execs where he says "blind faith" made the disaster worse.

soundoff (76 Responses)
  1. Mike Byrne

    I'm just glad the same republicans that deregulated the oil industry are now the victims of the oil leak. Hope they enjoy the taste of sweet crude for the next decade. Drill baby drill!

    June 15, 2010 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Randy

      This is a disaster for all Americans, not just Republican or Democrat.

      June 15, 2010 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Freeman

      I don't think Bobby Jindal is even remotely responsible for deregulating oil drilling. Not sure how your comments make sense.

      June 15, 2010 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Symbolic

    The Democrats must be incredibly stupid and gullible. When it came to the weapons of mass destruction – they were lied too. Now it comes to the oil companies – they were lied too. I don't know about you – but I have always been able to see through these lies. What I'm less certain about is if the Democrats are lying about their inability to see through this crap or is simply their way of dealing with tragedy after everything plays out?

    June 15, 2010 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
  3. POD

    'Unless you become more watchful in your states and check the spirit of monopoly and thirst for exclusive privileges you will in the end find that... the control over your dearest interests has passed into the hands of these corporations. '

    Andrew Jackson, Seventh President of the United States 1835

    June 15, 2010 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
  4. canadah

    Big business and government sleep in the same bed. BP is taking the brunt of it. Other companies are equally responsible. The BOP manufacturer is the most at fault because several built-in fail-safes did not happen. Why isn't this company of 'brilliant engineers' being grilled by the public?

    June 15, 2010 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Alex

    This catastrophe is nothing compared to the millions and millions of CO2 and other more lethal gases we spit every day into the atmosphere. Add that to our ignorance (CO2 is food for plants or volcanoes spit more than CO2 than cars, etc) that I have seen in this forum... and the picture is very very dark

    June 15, 2010 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Joseph

    Another duschebag getting grilled in congress. So what?? Why do politicians do this anyway? To show people that they are doing their job? This country is all F#$%@ up. You steal a candy bar and get thrown in prison. You spill 500,000,000,000 gallons of OIL into the gulf of mexico, kill dozens and harm millions of people and businesses, and what do you get????... a grilling in congress. Hell this only teaches one thing, if you are going to commit a crime in this country, make sure its a catastrophy, a disaster caused by greed, a ponzi scheme, banking and insurance sheme, Oh wait, if you highjack and destroy the US economy and the housing market YOU MIGHT EVEN GET A BILLION DOLLAR BAILOUT!!!!!!! for real...what kind of country is this????

    June 15, 2010 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • NWA

      Amen, Brother!

      June 15, 2010 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • cLOWNgOD

      There was a line form an old Bob Dylan song: "Steal a little and they'll throw you in Jail. Steal a lot and they'll make you king".

      June 15, 2010 at 7:59 pm | Report abuse |
  7. youwildman

    Incredible! The guidelines for cementing oil wells are just "suggestions!" congress is actually wasting time by asking if these "suggestions" maybe should be "regulations" but everyone knows how bad "regulations" are for people and jobs and the economy etc. I wonder who has resisted changing these suggestions into laws. Halliburton failed on 18 of 33 drilling operations in the gulf and this last failure is going to cost ten times more jobs than the moratorium on drilling will.

    It just seems insanity that in the worst disaster in US history that we are even discussing whether to regulate the cementing process. Thanks DICK!

    June 15, 2010 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • marco437

      Regulations are very important in situations such as underwater drilling. The Phillips Petroleum Company followed regulations in the North Sea oil fields development and installed remote shutoff swiches on their deepwater wells. I don't know whether it has been necessary to use these switches, but they are there just in case they are needed. In our gulf coast, BP must have felt that such a precaution was necessary to save the cost of installing these devices. Would the installation have cost more than 30 billion dollars – which is the probable cost of cleaning up the mess they made?

      June 15, 2010 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • spottinglies

      ..and even more... BP KNEW the BOP was broken, they KNEW the cement plug was leaking, they KNEW that using seawater instead of drilling mud was risky. When asked to testify, BP staff plead the 5th. So if the simple knowledge of knowing that you are going something wrong is not enough reason to stop you, then we need a law (even then, there is no guarantee, but at least we can prosecute – so it is with all laws.) Call it what you like – it's a simple concept.

      June 15, 2010 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • john

      From Wikipedia regarding errors made and lessons learned...
      Piper Alpha was a North Sea oil production platform operated by Occidental Petroleum (Caledonia) Ltd.[1] The platform began production in 1976, first as an oil platform and then later converted to gas production. An explosion and resulting fire destroyed it on July 6, 1988, killing 167 men, with only 59 survivors. The death toll includes 2 crewmen of a rescue vessel. Total insured loss was about £1.7 billion (US$ 3.4 billion). At the time of the disaster the platform accounted for approximately ten percent of North Sea oil and gas production, and was the worst offshore oil disaster in terms of lives lost and industry impact.
      Those that do not learn from history are destined to repeat it. Or somethign like that!

      June 15, 2010 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Steve

    The politicians are all empty vessels. They call the oil execs to the mat to shout & scream but NOT ONE OF "EM
    has an idea what to do, they say the emergency plans are no good, why not put forth what a good plan is...leed by example. Is easy to sit in judgement whilst it is difficult to leen I aplaud BP for their efforts & hope they can step it up a notch.

    June 15, 2010 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
  9. chris c

    Everyone needs to take a deep breath, close their eyes and clear their heads of all negativity and hatred. We are all at fault, everyone who drives a car, uses electricity, among many other things. We have to stop pointing fingers and decide in our selves that we have to learn to be responsible for our actions and try to do things for the common good of mankind, not to make a quick easy buck. All of our priorities are out of whack. We need to change how we think and learn to work together, or we will never make anything good happen as a species, and one day if we don't change, we will extinct ourselves.

    June 15, 2010 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Dan

    This disaster is exactly the scenario that big oil told us could never happen when they sold us on offshore drilling. The oil industry is reaping record profits. The expense of plugging the leak must be borne by those responsible, as must the cost of the cleanup. The full cost. And we must find more environmentally sound means to provide our needed energy. Automotive transportation is for most an economic necessity for employment. As long as petrochemicals remain the sole available fuel, these irresponsible and predatory corporations have us all hostage. That must stop, now, and must not be allowed to happen again.

    June 15, 2010 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rick

      Sold us on offshore drilling? Like 70 years ago and over 40,000 wells in the GOM alone? If you liked the price of gasoline in July 2008 ... just shut down the GOM production and you'll have even higher prices to enjoy.

      But of course, drilling in deeper waters is only 20 yrs or so old now. Let's see, that's over 14,000 wells drilled without such an incident. So how is the entire industry responsible for this disaster? This accident has many of the same themes as we saw in the Challenger accident... complacency based on past successes and poor judgement of a few people resulted in catastrophe. American's are so quick to point fingers of blame but very poor at having the patience to truly understand and learn from problems. The well design used in this case is flawed and should not ever be used in cases where hydrocarbons are present in the open-hole section... the regulators had the authority to enforce this but instead chose to sit and watch!

      We need more top-flight math, science and engineering majors pronto!.... and to get them to the MMS.

      June 15, 2010 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
  11. ken

    I love these back slapping politicians – everything will be OK – your too big too fail dont worry about it.

    June 15, 2010 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
  12. ac

    Incredible! CNN's moderators don't allow postings that may sound against Obama. Is that right? Gee! CNN-get a hold of yourself.

    June 15, 2010 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Rick McDaniel

    Job one.........stop the flow.....completely. Nothing else is going to matter, until that is accomplished......period.

    June 15, 2010 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
  14. ac

    Gee! These CNN's moderators or traffic controllers or whatever are really proffesionals deciding who post and what will be posting. If you got anything, I mean anything going against Obama's tonight remarks CNN's moderators don't want to hear it. I wonder if CNN actually allow that?? Uhm?? I thought that CNN was better than that. Anyway, those CNN's employees-they block you and don't allow you to sign in. They don't display the box to post if they let you sign in. They play every trick to keep you out. I don't understand why CNN allow it is employees to do that. I really don't understanding.

    June 15, 2010 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
  15. spottinglies

    More dogs, more ponies. The real problem has far deeper roots. In the US, a judge has to take himself off of a case if he has any financial interest in either side. A politician, who makes the laws, can take money from any company. Doesn't this seem maybe a little... bad?

    June 15, 2010 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
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