June 17th, 2010
02:42 PM ET

Lawmaker to BP CEO: 'I think you're copping out'

Read the full CNNMoney.com story

[Updated at 5:52 p.m.] Rep. Bart Stupak closed the hearing by telling BP CEO Tony Hayward: "I think the evasiveness of your answers only served to increase the frustration, not decrease the frustration, not just of members of Congress, but that of the American people."

[Updated at 2:42 p.m.] BP CEO Tony Hayward told Rep. Bob Latta, R-Ohio, he talks at least once a day with Adm. Thad Allen, the head of the federal government's Gulf oil spill response.

[Updated at 2:37 p.m.] BP CEO Tony Hayward told Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, "We would like to resolve this issue as well as everyone else."

[Updated at 2:32 p.m.] "There are no suggestions I have seen so far that anyone put cost ahead of safety," said BP CEO Tony Hayward, in response to grilling from Republican Rep. Phil Gingrey of Georgia, who responded, "With all due respect, Mr. Hayward, I think you're copping out."

[Updated at 2:26 p.m.] After BP CEO Tony Hayward testified that some oil samples in the Gulf were related to the Deepwater Horizon leak while others were not, and he avoided directly answering a question about whether there were plumes in the water, Democratic Congressman Ed Markey of Massachusetts charged, "Your testimony continues to be at odds to all independent scientists."

[Updated at 1:06 p.m.] Lawmakers questioned BP Chief Executive Officer Tony Hayward on whether the company saved time and money in seven areas of well design and operation that may have led to failure. In each case, Hayward answered that he did not recall or did not know.

[Updated at 12:51 p.m.] BP Chief Executive Officer Tony Hayward defended himself Thursday against a charge he was refusing to answer congressional questions raised by documents that BP dismissed safety concerns over the ruptured Gulf of Mexico well.

"I am not stonewalling. I was simply not involved in the decision-making process," he said. "I won't draw conclusions until an investigation is concluded."

To which Rep. Henry Waxman responded: "I am amazed at this testimony. You're kicking the can down the road. I find that irresponsible."

[Updated at 12:34 p.m.] Pressed for a direct answer on whether BP has made good on a commitment to safety that was pledged when Tony Hayward became the chief executive officer three years ago, Hayward would not give an yes or no answer to lawmakers questioning him Thursday.

He said: "We have focused like a laser on safe and reliable operations. We have made major changes."

"It's clear to me you don't want to answer any of our questions," said Rep. Henry Waxman, chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.[Updated at 12:34 p.m.] BP Chief Executive Officer Tony Hayward said it was "too early" to reach conclusions about whether the oil company dismissed safety concerns over its ruptured well in the Gulf of Mexico. Read full CNN.com story

"I'm not prepared to speculate on what may or may not have made a difference" until investigations are completed, he said.

[Updated at 11:38 a.m.] BP Chief Executive Officer Tony Hayward said Thursday that he hoped the company's establishment of a $20 billion compensation fund will help restore trust in the troubled oil company.

"We said all along we would pay all these costs and now the American people can be confident that our word is good," Hayward told a congressional hearing.

[Updated 11:28 a.m.] A protester has disrupted BP CEO Tony Hayward's testimony before a congressional panel Thursday moments after he was sworn in. The testimony was suspended as the protester was taken out of the room.

[Updated at 11:21 a.m.] Rep. Bruce Braley, R-Iowa, told beleaguered BP official Tony Hayward that he should have been present to listen to the testimony of the widows of workers killed aboard the Deepwater Horizon drilling platform. Hayward was made to listen at a Thursday congressional hearing.

"This tragedy will not be in vain," Natalie Roshto said in a video of a prior hearing held in Louisiana. "Because as of right now, my husband's death is in vain, but it will not be in vain if it serves to make the lives of every man and woman working in the oil field the top priority and causes powerful oil companies to know that they will be held accountable."

[Updated at 11:05 a.m.] Only half the story can be ascertained at Thursday's congressional hearing on the oil disaster, said Rep. Phil Gingrey, R-Georgia, because no one from the administration was testifying on whether there was lax government oversight.

[Updated at 10:53 a.m.] Lawmakers told BP Chief Operating Officer Tony Hayward Thursday that they intend to grill him on what they believe to be cost-cutting measures adopted by the oil giant that compromised the safety of the Gulf of Mexico well.

"After learning of risks, BP made a decision to ignore them," said Rep. Henry Waxman, chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, citing documents and confidential e-mails obtained by investigators.

[Updated at 10:48 a.m.] Republican Rep. Joe Barton had some harsh words for the White House at a key hearing Thursday on the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster: "I am ashamed of what happened at the White House yesterday.  I think it is a tragedy of the first proportion that a private corporation would be subjected to what I would characterize as a shakedown - in this case a $20 billion dollar shakedown."

Barton was referring to BP's establishment - at the behest of the administration - of an escrow account to pay for claims.

[Updated at 10:45 a.m.] Democrat Jim Costa, the chairman of the House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources, says in light of the Deepwater Horizon incident and the administration's plans to split up the Minerals and Management Service, the government agency that oversees offshore drilling, "when it comes to regulations, we must, I think, ask the hard questions on how we strike a proper balance between the role of government and the role of the private sector."

[Posted at 10:19 a.m.] BP's top leadership was "apparently oblivious" to the design and safety of the oil well that ruptured in the Gulf of Mexico, said Rep. Henry Waxman in opening a key congressional hearing Thursday with BP's Chief Executive Officer Tony Hayward.

"BP's corporate complacency is astonishing," said Waxman, the chair of the the House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman

soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. BreakingNewsBlog.us

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    BP WOULD BEEN ABLE TO STOP THE OIL SPILL FROM THE EARLY DAYS !!!
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    ARTICLE and VIDEO that shows the BP's tool, here: http://bit.ly/c8y9GX
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    WHY the BP's engineers haven't used this tool ???
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    (CNN) – Eight weeks after an explosion uncorked a massive oil spill into the Gulf, BP does not know whether its efforts to stanch the flow will soon succeed, its CEO plans to testify Thursday.
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    Tony Hayward: "We cannot guarantee the outcome of these operations..." 🙁
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    June 17, 2010 at 10:23 am | Report abuse |
    • GW

      Soldering is used in electronics, not well heads. I think welding is what you may have meant.

      June 17, 2010 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kathy Gallier Beaumont TX

      I am so sick of our government "passing the buck". Everybody wants to blame. I believe the our government dropped the ball on regulatory safety guidelines, just like 911 and missing security regs. Florida and other states involved in the disaster need to deal with the problems and move on. If our goverment had regulations in place BP would have had to follow them.

      What are we doing in congress besides playing politics.

      10 miles from the Gulf.

      Kathy Gallier
      Beaumont TX

      June 17, 2010 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • BreakingNewsBlog.us

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      read the (just published) update of my article, with my NEW idea to STOP the oil spill, reusing (in a different way) the giant BP "dome" already used in the (failed) first attempt to fix the oil leak:
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      http://bit.ly/c8y9GX
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      June 17, 2010 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Texan

    Wow, just watching the hearing this morning....sounds like congress KNEW BP had major safety issues! Why were they allowed to drill in our waters!!!!!! I want a hearing to find out why congress allowed it !!!

    June 17, 2010 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
  3. 42think

    Congressman Joe Barton has become far removed from the lives of Texans and his reponsibility of his office for U.S. citizens. I suppose sitting around the throne of oil priviledged causes the loss of perspective of our average citizens. It's long overdue for a change of representation in Barton's Texas Congressional district. Can't say: "It wasn't so",. can we Joe!

    June 17, 2010 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
  4. BPstinks

    Looks like Barton thinks corporate big shots should be exempt from liability and the taxpayer should pay!!!!????
    He's embarrassed that President Obama got this fund set up??

    slush fund is such a bad word....isn't he happy?....Oh well....the big shots (big corporates) usually don't pay taxes....everything is tax deferred...so it is just natural for a Republican to infer this....sooooo..this should end up in court so the big shot attorneys (corporate attys) should solve this????
    Is he for real?????

    If you gamble, you need to be prepared to lose....and BP lost!

    June 17, 2010 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
  5. Menachem Ben Yakov

    Obama supporters claim that the President is not responsible for the Gulf oil spill and that is true. However it should be obvious, and I hope Republicans are listening, that when Obama announced last March the opening up of new offshore drilling it was done without any due diligence. A thorough safety review of existing offshore platforms should have been done prior to the Presidents announcement. That review would have brought the problems on the BP rig to light and corrective procedures could have been taken. Once again the lack of managerial experience and the concept that any idea the President has is, ipso facto, a good idea , has caused the greatest environmental disaster in US history. Should BP be held accountable? Of course. Should the President be held accountable for not protecting the public? The answer is just as obvious.

    June 17, 2010 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
  6. chiquelets

    Who r the "big shots" here? Obama or BP? If this was George Bush's issue, you'd have all gone nuts! This Administation dd not react..at all.

    June 17, 2010 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Texan

    Tony "Stonewall" Hayward.............

    June 17, 2010 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
  8. damiao

    http://www.englishtips-self-taught.blogspot.com Everything was happen calls irresponsability.

    June 17, 2010 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Kathy Brown TX

    Oil Spill: Our Country, Our water our oil. What was our goverment doing to monitor and regulate. They were either trying to find trash on another politician or making the public think "they are going to get um" Kathy

    June 17, 2010 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Interested Citizen

    The situation in the Gulf is an unmitigated disaster, but the "questioning" by our elected representatives is worse. There are few questions; mostly insults and harangues from poorly informed and portentous miscreants masquerading as knowledgeable, interested interrogators. They insult and interrupt rather than interrogate. Little is revealed except their lack of an understanding of the issues or need to gain meaningful, useful information.
    Our legislators are “too clever by half” and their insulting diatribes are an embarrassment and a waste of time. While I am outraged by the actions, or lack thereof, by both BP and our government, Tony Hayward deserves better! America deserves better!

    June 17, 2010 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Tommy

    The Gulf of Mexico Recovery Fund

    The Gulf of Mexico Recovery Fund is for everyone. This page is not just a place to donate money; it is also a page to exchange ideas and goals and information.

    Thank you

    June 17, 2010 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Because I care

    I hope the world takes a good long look at this (man made) "disaster".
    And hopefully everyone notes just how important it is to do your job "fully and completely". There were so many mistakes here. If even one of them had not happened, we could be sitting here with no issues.
    A lot more people would still be alive and a whole lot of people would have remained unaffected. It wasn't one single mistake, but a whole long list of them. A whole long list of people that could have, should have, would have.... just done their jobs... except...
    and now look at this mess.
    and Nobody knows how to fix it. They all should have just done their jobs. All employees of BP should be punished. I have never agreed with boycots until now. For the life of me I cannot buy BP anything now. But then, I'm a very small person, aren't I, so it won't matter.
    If we don't get smart after this, then obviously we deserve what we get!

    June 17, 2010 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  13. kingkoopa

    Okay, Exxon tragedy that affected 40,000 people, paid out 4 BILLION, this means 100K per person. BP paid out $20BIL for 4 MILLION residents which comes out to $5000 per person. WHAT THE HECK? The starting FUND should've been $400 Billion NOT $20 BILLION. Declare chapter 11 or hand over your company to U.S. Tony Hayward, you are going hayward. Please take responsibility. It is not called taking responsibility if a kid blows up a car bentley and he paid for a KIA.

    June 17, 2010 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
  14. jo

    stop apologizing for the freaking oil spill and fix the dang thing from still spewing oil into the gulf after four freaking months!!!! A policy should have already been thought of how you would fix something like this if it were to happen not still trying to come up with ways to fix it after its happened and its two months down the road, and now our beaches and marine life is ruined for who knows how long!!!!!

    June 17, 2010 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Lynn

    Here is a company donating their profits to help the wildlife in this horrific disaster. http://Www.peacefulpirate.com is donating 100% of their profits this month to the Earthshare Gulfcoast Restoration Fund. Great tee shirts: some humorous and some poignant about the spill.

    June 17, 2010 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
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