WASHINGTON, DC - House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today after President Obama announced a plan to appoint a bipartisan commission to investigate the Gulf oil spill:
“Today, President Obama announced the members of a bipartisan commission appointed to make recommendations on responding to and preventing offshore oil spills, such as the BP spill devastating the Gulf of Mexico and the Gulf Coast. The commission’s members bring expertise in a range of relevant fields, from oil drilling to engineering to environmental science; they include Donald Boesch, the distinguished President of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science.
“The appointment of this commission is another step from the Obama Administration to hold the oil industry accountable by ensuring that independent experts review the facts of this spill and recommend necessary environmental and safety precautions to address this disaster and prevent future ones. The Obama Administration has been focused on making sure that BP, not the taxpayers, foots the bill for this disaster, and that the communities suffering the effects of the BP spill get the help they need. Congress has already acted to ensure that money from the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund, paid for by the oil companies, quickly reaches the Gulf Coast cleanup; and it looks forward to sending legislation to President Obama that will increase contributions to the Trust Fund, significantly strengthen oversight of offshore drilling, and get emergency aid to the Gulf Coast.
“The House has also held more than a dozen hearings investigating the spill, which led to the public release of key information, including the spill’s true size. Although Republican leaders have scoffed at these efforts, Democrats will continue to provide the necessary oversight to hold responsible parties accountable and to ensure every measure is taken to ensure a disaster like this never occurs again. This strong record is in clear contrast with the Republican record of shielding special interests, especially oil companies, from scrutiny and oversight.”