News / USA

Congress Investigates Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill

Multimedia

The United States Congress has launched its probe into the ongoing massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico that resulted from an oil rig explosion three weeks ago.  The investigation began with the Senate's Energy and Natural Resources Committee, where the executives of the three companies involved in the disaster came under fire from lawmakers.

They testified under oath in a room steeped in history.

It was the same room where Congress investigated the sinking of the Titanic nearly a century ago.

Democratic Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey:

"At that time, we had a ship so technologically advanced it could not sink," said Senator Menendez. "And here we have a rig that industry told us so many times was so technologically advanced it supposedly could not spill."

But on April 20th, the Deepwater Horizon exploded, killing 11 workers.  The rig collapsed and oil started gushing out into the Gulf of Mexico at a rate of nearly 800,000 liters per day.

The Deepwater Horizon was leased for drilling by the BP oil company.

Lamar McKay is chairman and president of BP America:

"BP and the entire energy industry are under no illusions about the challenges we face," said Lamar McKay. "We know that we will be judged by our response to this crisis."

McKay told senators that the cause of the rig explosion and spill has not been determined.  But he suggested that it might lie with Transocean, Ltd. - the company that owned and operated the Deepwater Horizon.

Transocean Chief Executive Officer Steven Newman pointed to possible shoddy workmanship by a subcontractor - Halliburton - which cemented the oil well to stabilize its walls.

"The one thing we do know is on the evening of April 20th, there was a sudden, catastrophic failure of the cement, the casing or both," said Steven Newman. "Without the failure of one of those elements, the explosion could not have occurred."

But Halliburton President Tim Probert said his company performed its duties in compliance with BP's orders.

"Halliburton is a service provider to the well owner, contractually bound to comply with the well owner's instructions," said Tim Probert.

The exchange seemed to irritate the top Republican Senator on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.

"I would suggest to all three of you that we are all in this together because this incident is affecting [and] will have an impact on the development of our energy policy for this country," said Senator Murkowski.

It has already added new fervor to the debate over whether the United States should proceed with more off-shore oil exploration.

As the Senate hearing was winding down, demonstrators were setting off on a march through the streets of Washington to protest plans for more undersea drilling.

There are no indications that Congress will ban the practice.  But lawmakers have vowed to strengthen drilling regulations.   

You May Like

Scotland Vote Raises Questions of International Law

Experts say self-determination, as defined and protected by international law, confined narrowly to independence movements in process of de-colonization More

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 More

Annual Military Exercise Takes on New Meaning for Ukraine Troops

Troops from 15 nations participating in annual event, 'Rapid Trident' in western Ukraine More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctionsi
X
September 18, 2014 2:28 AM
A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid