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tv   Capital News Today  CSPAN  May 26, 2010 11:00pm-2:00am EDT

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when he wrote himself, that that was at the end of his resignation. of course it was the only time in human history where someone led a revolutionary military, won the revolution, and then resigned and went home. never happened before, never happened since. . the state over which you preside in his holy protection. i know my friend had people as an employer providing paychecks. you probably had people resigned. may not have people put prayers on the end of their resignation. decline the heart of citizens to sulltive ate a spirit of subordination and get this,
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obedience to government, to entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another for fellow citizens of the united states and particularly for those who served in the field. and finally, that he would most graciously be pleased to dispose us all to do justice. that's part of the prayer. how can you do justice? you follow the law. you are just to the rich and the poor. you are just to everyone, race creed, color, national religion, wealth, that was part of washington's prayer. and then he goes on, to love mercy. you can't have mercy unless you have justice in the first place. and washington goes on, to demean ourselves with charity, hue mill ti, which were the
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characterics of the divine author of our blessed religion and without an invitation in whose example these things we can never hope to be a happy nation. he signed it, i have the honor to be, with great respect and esteem your excellencey your most obedient and humble servant, george washington. that's a resignation, that's a prayer. mr. king: did he sign that in the year of our lord? mr. gohmert: he did not. but most things were signed in the year of our lord, including our constitution. so i found it remarkable and some people would say it would be unconstitutional to sign things in the year of our lord. and i pointed out how would it be unconstitutional to sign things in the year of our lord when that is exactly how the constitution itsf is signed and dated?
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i yield. mr. king: reclaiming may time. i reflect back talking about the the gentlewoman is recognized washington and the eloquence he had and love of his country and how great it would have been if castro stepped down in cuba, how much different this western hemisphere would be and didn't have people like hugo chavez and impose their version of marxism or emperor's law, which is the foundations of empire. if you look around and look at empires, they were run by the law of the emperor and not the law that comes from god that sees justice blindly and to level kind of just for whom ever it might be, rich or poor. i'm thinking about this arizona law again and how it has been
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misrepresented across this country and i'm forgiving for what has happened here when you have the highest officials in the united states government that either shoot from the hip or willfully misinform the american people and starts with the president of the united states himself. when the arizona law was passed, he immediately said that a mother and daughter could be going to get some ice cream and they could be targeted because of how they looked and could be asked to produce their papers. that was based on no fundamental facts, mr. speaker. and we had the attorney general testifying before the judiciary committee a week-and-a-half ago, about a week-and-a-half ago with eric holder, and as he was asked these series of questions he made the point that he thought there was the potential of racial profiling that could take
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place. and then, mr. speaker, we found out and i think eric holder may know by now that he misunderstood the law, but he hadn't read the law. we found out when congressman ted poe, former judge from texas, asked him if he read the bill. he said he hadn't been briefed on the bill but had a few things to say about it prior to the judiciary committee about its lack of constitutionality. well, that's the attorney general, who also testified he is a nonpartisan office, that he is simply going to enforce the law. then we have secretary of homeland security janet napolitano, and she had remarks to make about how the bill could be used for racial profiling and it's obvious she didn't read the bill and she confessed to senator mccain in a hearing she didn't read the bill. and had the assistant secretary of homeland surity, john
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morton it was in e "chicago tribune" newspaper and he wasn't picking up the individuals that would be incarcerated by arizona law enforcement that violated u.s. and arizona immigration law. the chief law enforcement officer for immigration and customs enforcement sent a message not yet to be retracted that he wouldn't commit to picking up these individuals that had been picked up by arizona law enforcement because he disagreed with the law. breathtaking. what would george washington have said to think that top enforcer of american immigration law, the assistant secretary of homeland security, john morton, would even say he had any options about enforcing the law. i would say, mr. speaker, that it isn't his option and not the option of the president of the
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united states to decide to enforce the law, not the option of the attorney general whether to enforce the law or the sebling of homeland security or the assistant secretary of immigration and customs enforcement, none of them have the option. they are executive branch employees. their oath is to uphold the constitution to the best of their ability and faithfully execute the laws. that's their job. this congress sets the legislation and the policy. the executive branch carriers it out. they don't get to have discretion. i will submit tore john morton, janet napolitano and eric holder and president obama, come back here, run for office. come back here if you like to set policy, get in the legislative business, not the enforcement business. i'm not seeking to enforce the law myself. i'm saying the law. here's the law. and you have the obligation if you are the president of the
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united states or executive branch officer with that duty to enforce that law. our job is to set the policy and pass the laws. and i'll go even further, michael posner, the assistant secretary of state he said he brought it up with the chinese that we had a problem with the law that could bring about racial profiling. we have 40,000 chinese in the united states that have been adjudicated for deimportanttation and chinese won't take them back and we are sending them 550-year-old bones from paleo vertebrae to keep their facts treat. we ought to deport them as well as the bones and in addition, president calderon. the american people have been misinformed by the president, the attorney general, the secretary of homeland security,
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the assistant secretary of state posner and the president of mexico comes to this floor and lectures and says we have a law that i will say is completely constitutional and i will make a furet prediction that the announcement came out today that the judicial -- that the justice department under eric holder now has a legal brief that recommends that they bring suit against arizona. here's my prediction. aclu has written that legal brief for the justice department that thea political justice department that one day we'll get our hands on, release the draft is what needs to happen from the attorney general. but in that draft, we'll find the aclu that has already sued arizona with a 98-page case. there's the document they are using to put their brief together in the justice department. the president gave the order to the attorney general to look into arizona's law and the
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justice department under attorney general holder looked at the lawsuit that is brought by the aclu and other organizations that are hard core left wing and they have lifted the language right out of that lawsuit and that will be the draft, mr. speaker. that's my prediction. i put my marker down. when we get our hands from the draft of the attorney geral's office, i will take that draft and will take the language and highlight the language right out of the aclu's lawsuit and show you how the justice department lifted that language out of the aclu and the mexican defense foundation and put it in their draft advisory and the federal government will be conducting and carriering out the direction of the aclu and la raza and the other other organizations that are hard core leftist
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organizations in this country, if we're go to go have the rule of law, it has to be impartial, objective and constitutional and statutory and consistent with state law. arizona's law is all of those things. but this unjustified attack on arizona law is anything but. and i would yield back. i would like to withhold that moment and yield the balance of my time to the the gentleman from texas. mr. gohmert: the president said he would transform america and when the executive branch charged with enforcing the laws of the country, won't read them, follow them or enforce them, that is a fundamental transformation, our friend from wyoming prepared this chart. one final closing, final note of fundamental transformation, this chart, when you have the blue line, the product job sector hiring shooting down like this
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and the red line, the public government hiring shooting up like that, you fundamentally transformed america. and i yield. mr. king: reclaiming my time. mr. speaker, yielding back the balance, should there be any. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from colorado rise? mr. perlmutter: mr. speaker, i send to the desk two privileged reports from the committee on the rules for filing under the rule. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title. the clerk: report to accompany house resolution 1403, resolution providing for consideration of the senate amendment to the bill h.r. 4213, to amend the internal revenue code of 1986 to extend certain expiring provisions and information other purposes. the speaker pro tempore: report to accompany house resolution 1404, resolution providing for consideration of the bill h.r.
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5136 to authorize appropriations for fiscal year 2011 for military activities of the department of defense to prescribe military per nell strengths for such fiscal year and waiving requirement of 6-a of rule 13 with respect to consideration of certain resolutions reported from the committee on rules and for other purposes. the speaker pro tempore: referred to the house calendar and ordered printed. for what purpose does the gentleman from colorado rise? mr. perlmutter: i move that the house do now adjourn. the speaker pro tempore: the question is on the motion to adjourn. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. the ayes have it. the mot >> possible on the agenda for
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this week, the extension of certain tax cuts, unemployment benefits. live house coverage here on c- span. here is a look at the c-span programming schedule. up next, the interior secretary testifies at house hearings on the gulf of mexico oil spill. later, a congressional oversight panel looks at the bonds led to a aig by the tarp program. it is followed by "washington journal." no hearing on the gulf of mexico oil spill. interior secretary ken salazar told the house natural resources committee today that the government is taking aggressive action, and a crackdown on regulators at the minerals management service. the president has scheduled a press briefing tomorrow where he is expected to announce tougher
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safety requirements and inspections for offshore drilling at operations. >> i ask that the gentle lady be asked to sit with the committee today appeared without objection, so ordered. i like to take this opportunity to welcome the newest member of our committee. is he here? whenever he gets here, he will be our newest member of the committee. he fills a vacancy created by the departure of neil abercrombie. for better or worse, we now have a new mexico corner on the committee. all right.
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this morning we begin a series of hearings on the deepwater horizon incident and its implications. we are all extremely frustrated by the fact that the well which continues to hemorrhage possibly tens of thousands of barrels of oil into the gulf of mexico each day has not yet been shut down. the blame game is in full force right now. but i do think it is important to determine whether this is the wall street of the ocean privatizing profit while the public bears the risk. in the coming weeks, the administration witnesses and outside experts will testify before this committee or its subcommittees about this catastrophic event, the federal government role if any in its cause, and the necessary steps to reduce the chances of such a
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horrific event occurring again. this morning we will hear from our dear friend, the secretary of interior, ken salazar, who has dispatched tens of thousands of federal employees into the region. he has been on the scene numerous occasions himself. he just came back to washington to speak before today. it would seem he is doing all in his power to address this catastrophe. we are also hearing today from the acting inspector in general on the findings of a just released investigation which, once again misconduct at minerals management service. this time among their ranks of the inspectors who were supposed to be keeping an eye on, not playing around with, industry operators in the gulf. it is certain agency personnel that allowed them to fill up
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their inspection reports with a pencil, with inspectors top -- riding on top of the pencil prior to handing in their reports, that is true it reprehensible. as the committees of jurisdiction, it falls to us to review the deepwater horizon disaster, the new ig report, and a 5-year-old plant to provide -- to provide the probert context of future offshore leasing in this country. i believe that justice the disaster on the upper branch mine in my district, it did not signal the end of all coal mining in the united states, so to in my opinion is deepwater horizon incident does not signal the end of all offshore oil and gas leasing and production in this country. however, it does raise questions that must be addressed before we can move forward. for example, does the ocs land
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act provide and the structure? to the mms regulations provide for adequate protection of the environment and resources held in the public trust? was the mms derelict in its responsibilities? how should mms be restructured to ensure that we effectively address the flaws in the current system that led us to this point? these and other equally important questions will be examined and answered over the coming weeks and months. if remedial action is required at all, this committee will address and draft the necessary legislation to ensure that risks inherent in deep water drilling and production are minimized. i now yield to the ranking member. >> thank you, mr. chairman and thank you for scheduling this hearing. i want to welcome all the witnesses that will be appearing
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before us today. i think it is clear that stopping the leaking well, cleaning up the oil, and responding to the needs of the gulf coast community should be the top priority for everybody, and that includes bp, the department of interior, the white house, and it certainly includes members of congress. it has been over a month since will started leaking into the gulf of mexico. each day that the oil continues to leak is a day where frustration increases. both bp and the obama administration have made joint shared duty to do everything within their power to stop this flow. while the main focus must be on addressing the immediate crisis, again, stopping the leaking oil, some tough questions must be asked of those responsible to be held accountable. the time for full disclosure and honest answers cannot be edited. this is the first of at least seven hearings by this committee, hearings an important
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part of our considerable oversight and investigation. but as important as the hearings are, it is critical that the obama administration closes and reports to the public and congress for their scrutiny. a true investigation requires an investigation in the causes and responses to the bill. questions include -- what was done improperly in the drilling operation? what was the immediate emergent greek -- emergency response of the drilling operators and the government? was everything that could be done done immediately and without delay? for their failures and government oversight and inspections before the explosion? what of the economic impacts on the communities, businesses, and fisherman? and what the impacts on wildlife and the environment? we must get to the bottom of all these questions. we must know what happened so that informed educated decisions
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can be made and actions taken. we have got an important job to do. we need answers and then fix the failures to prevent another spill to ensure that american- made energy -- can continue operate in a safe manner, the safest in the world. i want to note that secretary salazar and his need to understand the economic impact before risking the liability cap. a bipartisan demand that bp fully paid for this bill is very clear. just as there are pockets and supports for increasing the cap. care must be taken to do it right said that american energy production is not shut down that would result in the loss of tens of thousands of jobs. as tough questions are asked, the actions of both the obama and the bush administration must be put squarely under the spotlight, regardless of which
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party controls the department of the interior, it is vital that we know where failures occurred so that necessary reforms can be instituted. this is the time for -- this is not the time for finger- pointing. this is the time to get the facts out in the open to get changes to be made to prevent similar incidents. on the matter of mms, the agency's fundamental failures have been well known for several years. republicans on the house committee of oversight and government reform led by our colleague from california have conducted multiple investigations into in a mess. key questions that need to be answered are, what is -- what did the department do with this information? what was one to correct these failings? and when was that action taken? the inspector general issued a report yesterday that raised more questions about the lack of adequate response to known problems. i do want to note that back in
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the summer of 2008, gas prices climbed past $4 a gallon. the response to the public was clear. produce more energy in america. a majority of americans understand the importance of continued offshore drilling to our economies, and to the jobs they create, and to our national security. the unprecedented spill must be met with real reform and stronger safety measures. but also to ensure that we continue to produce oil here in the united states. turning our back on offshore energy production would be too costly in lost jobs, higher gas prices, and in brief -- increased dependence on foreign sources from nations that are hostile to our way of life. america needs an of an "all the above" energy plan that includes solar, nuclear, hydro, and does not ignore oil and gas. mr. chairman, thank you again for this meeting and i look
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forward to the testimony and the opportunity for members to ask questions. i yield back. >> thank you, doctor. we will now proceed with our first witness. as i mentioned in my opening comments, a dear friend of myself and many of us on this committee, and as we were talking beforehand, mr. secretary, he reminded that my for -- his first appearance as secretary was to testify on legislation reforming mms, including the elimination. he is bent back before us a couple of times and as i said, he has poured everything that he has at his disposal into trying to not only cap this oil but to help all of the affected parties in louisiana. and along our coastlines. we're very happy to welcome you today, mr. salazar, secretary of
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the department of interior. he is accompanied by david hayes, another individual very familiar to us. >> thank you very much, and thank you ranking member, and to all distinguished members of the committee. sorry, hastings. let me just make a couple of quick points and then i would be happy to take your questions. first, let me say that from day one we have been -- the united states of america is moving forward with what has been a relentless effort to deal with this problem. the effort has been directed by the president and each member of the cabinet that we do not rush, we do not stop, we do everything in our power to try to deal with the problem with respect to the oil spill as with respect to any impact that will come from the oil spill.
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that relentless effort today includes over 20,000 people who are deployed along our coastlines to protect them. that includes over 1000 ships and vessels out there in the oceans trying to clean up the spill. that relentless effort includes the body of scientists that we have as we try to bring this oil spill under control. so the president's direction, we have carried out from april 20 at lord, has been that we will spare no effort to make sure that the people of this country, that the residents of the gulf coast are protected, and in addition, that we get to the bottom of the story here, which is to understand exactly what happened so that the facts are known to the american people and the appropriate policy decisions can be made, going forward, with respect to development of energy in the outer continental shelf. the response that is under way
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today in the gulf of mexico is a -- the single largest response in the history of the united states of america regarding any oil spill. it is true that there have been many oil spills which have been much larger than what we're seeing today in the gulf of mexico in the history of this country. but this effort in terms of the response that we have under way is the single largest effort response to an oil spill in the history of this country. >> would you you've just a moment? if i might, impatient, those behind the secretary police said. we're seeing the view of other people and i would just ask that you respect the rights of everyone that is here. would you please sit down? would you please sit down? thank you. thank you. you may proceed, mr. secretary. >> thank you, mr. secretary.
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my first point you and congressman hastings and the members of this command me that this administration -- this effort is relentless, it is unprecedented, and it will continue forward until we deal with this problem effectively and we have they all stop and everything has been done to clean up the damage that may occur from it. the second point i want to make to this committee is just a quick update. today is a very important day. what is happening in the gulf -- i know you have been watching newspapers and television sets with respect to the so-called "top kill" action which should take place sometime today. i have been in houston four times since april 20 of to oversee and to understand what it is that bp is doing to make sure that they are killing this well and stopping the pollution that is now flowing into the ocean. we have assembled a group of
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scientists who have been deployed in houston. today the secretary of entry -- of energy steven chu along with other experts from the energy labs, along with the director of the united states geological survey, are they're monitoring what is happening as key decision points are made. . no effort is being smeared on the part of the united states
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wreckage to try to bring this problem under control. -- the united states to try to bring this problem under control. it is an issue which i know every member of the committee has spoken out on cents this event began on april 20. the fact is, we should know the national laws which have been part of creating, have created a system of responsibility here and bp is the responsible party. there are limitations respective to liability. secretary general paul attala who has been doing a herculean job of making sure the coast guard and the effort she has under control and i have had several meetings and we have confirmation that will not hide behind the $75 million liability
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cap. they have stated formally to us and we will hold them accountable they will be responsible for all costs. all response costs for this oil spill which is theirs bill. all damages will be paid with respect to impact on natural resources. and the costs related to the cleanup. those who will be affected in the gulf coast from an economic point of view will receive compensation. they are not hiding behind the liability cap. that is something which should provide the comfort that the resources are there. when you think about a company that made over $16 billion, they will be good for paying the compensation that is required here. bp is the responsible party. bp must take the actions as required by law. it is our job and as the u.s.
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government to make sure that bp does the job is required to do by law. that has been a role which in secretary napolitano have been playing, making sure bp lives up to the requirements as it has under the law. it is also important not only that this problem is fix but htis -- this problem never happens again. i recognize every member of this committee would not ever want this kind of problem to ever happen again in the gulf of mexico or anywhere else in the world. i want to in concluding my remarks to give you two keystone lessons. the first is that reform in terms of how we deal with the development of natural resources is essential. it is a reform agenda which i
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have been on since the data came into the department of interior -- the day i came into the department of interior. establishing new ethics, provisions for mms within 10 days after became secretary of interior. the result of the investigation that we have undertaken where people who were doing bad things with mms are no longer employed at mms. it results in what they secretary-general will be testifying what happening -- what was happening with mms. you will find that the issues that are raised in the report are issues that go back to 2005, 2006, 2007. the kinds of improprieties which i think our reprehensible. such as going off to the [unintelligible] and adding the oil companies
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paid the way for mms employees. those are inappropriate behaviors. i will remind this committee and the united states that when you read the report, they referred to a time that predated this administration. it was focused in on the time when there was a relationship with the oil and gas world, whatever it is they wanted, they got. the day ended when i came in as secretary of interior. we have turned the ship. we have been making progress. progress at the criticism of some members. it is progress of reforms that has to be made. having said that, it is not enough to say we have solved the problem. there are other things we have to do. including as i suggested in this committee in september of last
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year, moving forward to have organic legislation for the agency that has such an important responsibility. an agency that has these two very important missions. collecting on average $13 billion a year. over $200 billion since it was formed by secretary -- formed in the 1980's should in my mind, have a robust, organic, a legislative enactment that spells out what the responsibilities of this agency are. an agency that has a responsibility for developing the oil and gas resources in our oceans which are the places we have the most oil and gas energy resources left to discover and to produce has got to have the kind of robustness that comes with organic legislation. we have it in other agencies and the department of interior, including our national parks service, the u.s. geological survey, and other agencies. it is time that mms be given
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that same kind of platform to be able to do the job that has been assigned to it by the united states of america. the second point i would make is a lesson which is important for all of us to recognize. this incident in the gulf coast underscores the importance of what this committee has worked on for a long time. that is we do need to move to a new energy frontier. oil and gas will be part of our energy portfolio. that will have to be the case for decades to come. the work of this committee, the work of president obama and the department of interior, to harness the power of the wind off the atlantic, the sun of the deserts of california and the southwest, the geothermal efforts, all of those are incredibly important as we move forward to grasping the reality of an energy frontier. i would be happy to take
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questions. i have the deck -- deputy secretary of the department of interior here with me. david has been working on this with the same kind of relentless effort since day one. the day after the explosion on deepwater horizon, it was at 10:00 the following day that i dispatched david hayes without a change of clotjhinclothing to tf of mexico. this was the mission that require the urgency and focus that we have been giving it. because of his efforts, the efforts of literally thousands of people within the department of interior, as well as the president, members of the white house, my colleagues on the cabinet, secretary janet napolitano, the commandant and others, i feel confident that --
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and resolute that we are doing everything that can be done and that in the days ahead, we will be able to forge the policies and kind of changes that adjust to the realities that we find today. thank you and thank you congressman. >> thank you. that was perhaps too much information. we do appreciate the time you have taken to be with us today in your testimony. on the surface, it appears that the deepwater horizon has been a game changer as how we manage resources on behalf of the american people. it appears that with the latest inspector general report in which you have these alleged improprieties of mms personnel, this report has put the mms in
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the penalty box indefinitely. my first question would be to you, as we look to the future of oil and gas leasing, do you think this disaster has been a game changer as far as managing our offshore energy resources? >> mr. chairman, i think what this incident brings to light is the organic legislation which you have been working on which i testified in support of a year ago, it is time to get those kinds of initiatives underway. we need to make sure that as we move forward with development of the oil and gas resources that it is being done in a safe way. this kind of incident does not ever happen again. to that end, we're committed to working with you, working with members of the committee and members of congress to make sure that that does in fact happen. >> you have described some of
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the alleged improprieties and ethical lapses that occurred at mms as shown in the inspector general reports, not only the latest one, but the one prior to your taking office about what happened in the denver office of mms. it is reprehensible that such activities would be allowed to occur. accepting tickets to different events and even behavior goes beyond that to alleged drug use on oil rig platforms. amwell do you believe mm -- how culpable to you believe mms is? >> knowing many of them and having visited them in their office to announce the ethics requirements were put into place
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in the end of january of last year at the beginning of the administration, my belief is that most of the employees of mms are good public servants. they get up in the morning and go to work and they do their job to the best of their ability. i can tell you that there is evidence from the inspector general report involving the sex and drugs scandals and the more recent inspector general report that deals with 2005-2007 time frame that there are bad apples in the organization. we have taken appropriate personnel action. people have been terminated and referred to prosecution as a has been necessary. that is what we will continue to do. we will have zero tolerance with respect to ethical lapses that have occurred at mms. i will say of the 1700 employees, they continue to do their job. even in the midst of this crisis
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which is occupying the minds of america, they continue to work to collect and distribute the approximately $13 billion a year. they continue to work and try to make sure that everything they can -- that can be done to stop this will from continuing to leak is in fact accomplished. i would say that there are bad apples and those bad apples will be rooted out with every power that we have. >> i do not mean to insinuate that we can legislate 100% parity among every government employee. in a perfect world, perhaps that would be possible. we cannot do that. it begs the question, if you have these corruptible people within mms, does your proposal to split mms into three different organizations, is that going to help clean house?
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is it going to address these ethical problems? has your ethics reform package taken hold that you announced after you took office? how are we going to do an hour best to recognize that we're not at 100% legislative purity. how can we do a better job? >> the conduct she was referring to happened in the days of the prior administration. we need to know the truth so i said we want to find out what is that has happened from january 24. we need to know what is happening, whether or ethics reforms have worked. we have hired people who were high level people that come in and provide ethics training. we have them set up in the offices around the department of
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the interior. there have been major changes with that. having said that, the second point i would make is i think organizational changes necessary. that is why i have proposed and we are moving forward with a new respect sharing -- restructuring with the minerals management service, including several key components. the first is to remove the revenue collectors away from a leasing and policing functions of mms. there are seven -- 700 employees that are located within that revenue treasury function. i will take this people completely -- those people completely out of that part of the organization and move them to the assistant secretary for policy management and budget. those revenue collectors will not be dealing at all with leasing and inspection functions. we will split the rest of the mms into the bureau's i have described. they are the bureau of ocean energy management.
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the future of this country is dependent on having an agency that can deal with energy development in the outer continental shelf. that is with respect for conventional energy, oil and gas, as well as the new efforts we have underway. there has to be a bureau that does that. the second part would be the bureau of safety and environmental enforcement. that would be the place where there would be a director that would carry out the police and inspection and enforcement functions. david hayes along with several other members of my team is leading the effort to split up the organization into these separate functions. fundamentally, the problem and you have raised well in this committee on numerous occasions, is that you had too much of a lomixture between those who were
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responsible for collecting revenues and those responsible for giving out leases and policing those activities. this break up will address many of the issues which this committee has been dealing with, including the royalty in kind program. it was eliminated not because people wanted to eliminate the program but it needed to be eliminated because we needed to make better organizational improvement that we have put on the table. it will help us the rest of the way. we look forward to working with you and working with other members of the committee to make sure that the organization will work to address the mission's that were described for the new organization. >> thank you. we will work with you and i have many more questions on your proposal which will come in later rounds or later time. on behalf of this committee, we
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are -- i know we are serious about working with you. we want to ensure that the american people receive just returns for the use of their resources and we want to ensure that it is done in a safe and environmentally responsible manner. i will recognize the ranking member. >> thank you. i would know that is the second time you have been to our committee but we appreciate you being here. sometimes their policies in thi -- there are policies that have unintended consequences. the reason i say that is there have been democrats in congress and members of the obama administration that have been critical of the oil and gas industry for their failure to develop their leases quickly enough. both those members in congress in administration have pushed various use it or lose a
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policies which presumably is put in place to pressure the oil and gas companies to get their wells operating much sooner. for example, in the president's budget, this last february, he had a new tax that proposed to [unintelligible] on non-producing leases. to get those leases active. i have two questions. with the administration -- with the administration rescind the proposal on this new tax and secondly, does this use it or lose a pressure from the government some time move these companies to move in a less than incrementally safe manner to get these leases in production? -- less than environmentally safe manner to get these leases in question? >> the first question, the answer is no.
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you do not have acres out there sitting idle and are not looked at for the possibility of development. we felt that was sound as a proposal when it was proposed in the president's budget. it was down then and it is down today. secondly on your question as to whether it requires the companies to accelerate what they do and that somehow would contribute to these issues of what happened whatthe deepwater horizon and others, -- what happened with the deepwater horizon, the answer is no. there have been preliminary investigations that have been done about the [unintelligible] with respect to the respecincid. [unintelligible] of outer continental shelf
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development. that is the way to go but i do not think it has anything to do with the use it or lose a doctrines. >> sometimes you have unintended consequences and that is the reason i asked, that is something we need to look at. let me get briefly back to mms and the employees. specifically the reports that came out yesterday. there was a report that reported one of those employees was fired by the bush administration in 2007. that was three years ago that this employee was fired for what ever he did. i guess my question is this. and i think it is a question that most american people would be asking. if there are individuals that have been identified as doing the wrong things, are they still on the payroll? if they have done the wrong
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things, why would they not be terminated immediately if it were doing the wrong things? what i heard you say is we're doing whatever we can. the american taxpayer has to be asking the question, if they are doing the wrong thing, are they still in the government payroll? that is my question to you. >> the answer is if we know they have done something wrong that requires termination, they have been terminated. indeed, there have been referred to prosecution if the facts surrounding the incident are harmful enough. i would remind you that within this department, the former deputy secretary of interior went to prison and other people have been prosecuted for their failures to do what is required of them by law. we came into this department to clean up the mess and to clean up this house. we have been working
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relentlessly from day one to clean it up and it is an agenda which we will continue to work on. >> very quickly. mike understanding is some of those employees were there at the end -- might understanding is some of the employees were there at the end of the bush administration and there were on the job. >> david hayes will answer with respect to that issue. >> we got this report from the inspector general within the last couple of weeks. we're in the process of reviewing the report. the inspector general indicated because of the interest in the issue that she was going to release it and she did. we immediately put the individuals identified in the report on administrative leave and have started proceedings to determine whether more disciplinary action is appropriate. we moved as soon as we got the information from the inspector
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general. >> maybe i should ask the inspector general. thank you very much. >> the gentleman from california. >> thank you. i would like to join mr. hastings. i appreciate the actions that have been taken and recognize we knew we had a full-fledged scandal in the past administration like we had with fish and wildlife service with people acting in what i believe was criminal fashion. we have to go back over this with a fine tooth comb. i would say that mms provided a great deal of assistance and expertise to this committee. i think that agency just thatto hell -- went to hell in a handbasket.
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we need to know what we're dealing with. the reason i say this is i have been involved in several oil spills. i did the exxon valdez for this committee. when you go back to the record, you see the same assurances then they were giving us today. uc back in 1982, they are telling us -- you see back in 1982, they are telling us it is highly unlikely, do those words sound familiar? highly unlikely anything would go wrong. these assurances are not worth spit. they are made all the time. if you read the internal documents as i am going back through history, the company refuses to buy the quip -- the equipment. their own company told them to buy this equipment to update the quitman and the board turns down. assurances are given.
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they could clean up 30% of the oil within 48 hours and they did not clean up 1% of the oil. the equipment was going to be present. they have to go to london to get equipment. they had to go to the middle east. despite the assurances, the people of alaska and the people of this nation. that is why i am being harsher. we have to know the integrity of this agency. it is very, very valuable. the regulatory regimes they provide are for the protection as we see of fastvast geographil areas of our nation. i appreciate your remarks. i think that is essential. we are faced with a situation where clearly, the drilling technology is so outpaced the
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cleanup technology. it was clear. my involvement in the san francisco bay spill and numerous local spills, once the oil hits the water, you lose. the people of this nation. oil in the water, to clean up is a public relations operation. we go back and review how much oil we have never picked up out of any oil spill in this country or anywhere else in the world and especially in open water like the gulf of mexico. these assurances about whether or not we're going to have an accident, we cannot -- you can i go to the bank on them. the question is, what is the technology in place to deal with the "accidents" and what is our ability to clean-up? our ability to clean it up, we are where we were with the
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santa barbara oil spill in 1969. the booms are bigger and they can operate in four foot seas. we are shoveling sand. i think this department and this government has to clawback any of the pieces that have been put in progress based on old assurances that were made previously. we have to call back those releases so they can be reviewed. i think that we have to consider whether or not that we can get a pass to what is incredible technology. much of this science is developed in my district. the cleanup is not there. we're still throwing diapers on oil and shoveling sand and
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rubbing wounded wildlife with solvents. you can't go in to 18,000 feet or 5,000 feet of water and believe that that is the response when something like this happens. especially now that we know technically how difficult it is to work in 5,000 feet of water. i think we have got to think about putting a circuit breaker on activities in this department until we know more about it. the congress, the administration, the american people. we have to review the exclusions we have given to drilling. we see that those add up to be a catastrophe economically and environmentally. thank you for your time and i look forward to working with you on this problem. >> thank you. if i may respond.
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you are correct that there is a lot more information, a lot more science and a lot more to come in terms of safety measures. we have been on this and that is why when you look at the cancellation of the lease sales that have been scheduled by the prior administration and the board in alaska in bristol bay, we canceled those leases, 200 million acres to be leased. there are questions about oil spill response capability and about the this sense, especially when you start working in those kinds of environments. they raised questions we have been working on. the same on the categorical inclusions. it is a mandate on this congress and the national framework over many administrations, republican and democrat, that have put a requirement on interior requirementmms to turn around --
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on interior and mms to turn around in 30 days. we hope that would be one of the measures that comes out as part of the president's reform package which has been submitted to congress. >> did you say -- if you look at the forensics, we will find out is this will spill was a result of a series of activities that were taken over time. it did not happen on that day for that particular reason. if you go back on those oil spills, it was a lack of decision making much prior to the action, whether it is a tanker spill or fixed platform or pipeline. >> i will add it is the reason why president obama has set forth a presidential commission to commit -- conduct an investigation. the kind of investigation that
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was conducted after the challenger explosion and after three mile island. the results will inform the public and congress on many of these friends. in addition, there are a host of other investigations that are underway that will get to the root of what happened. >> thank you. >> the ranking member and chair will recognize members for questioning. >> i thank the chair. there is a lot of talk about mms and criminal behavior that has happened in the past. i want to talk about normal bureaucratic behavior. in what seems to be the louisiana -- the louisiana governor has said he has been seeking permits to build birms on some of the island's four days or weeks and has yet to get them. that seems to be a typical
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federal bureaucrat response to someone who once and have some resources at least to go ahead and do this. yet he is being held back because of what seems to be a typical bureaucratic response. can you answer to that? what permits does he need and which ones can he not get at this point? >> it is a live issue that is under consideration. let me say to you that there are conversations that have been going on yesterday and today between the national commander and congressman jim doyle -- jindal. ooe thing we don't want to do is move forward and do something that ultimately will be environmentally worse than other
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measures that may be more thoughtful. those questions -- conversations are going on. we met with gov. jindal and spoke with him yesterday. we are aware of their requests. we are taking every action that is humanly possible to make sure that those measures that make sense are in fact being implemented as soon as possible. >> this gets back to what mr. miller was talking about. we do not learn anything from prioress bills -- prior spills. what is being done between spills? do we not study whether it is useful to construct a birm in case of a spill? the case we're talking about now with bp dumping dispersants and telling them we do not know the effect of that?
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what got to stop or look for others for -- dispersants? it is baffling that every new spill which is much like the old one. we're still shoveling sand on the beach. we are doing some of the same things, washing off birds with handi-wipes and it seems we don't learn. something occurs here and we're still wrangling and questioning with the governor wants to move for literally weeks, debating whether or not it is good to construct a barrier -- a birm on a barrier island when that should have been studied before hand. someone with an interior or epa should be doing this. so we can have more of a rapid response. there has been many reports of
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fishermen and others who have been willing to work to lay boom or a absorbent material or whatever else and have been told we cannot. or we cannot use you or do not want to use you at this point. it seems wrong to turn away help that is there and willing in what seems to be a typical bureaucratic response that we're looking at. it is under consideration. when the livelihood of a lot of people is at stake. do you have any response, particularly to what are we learning? why aren't we doing something that will inform us for the usspill -- for the next spill? >> i would respond in two ways.
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what is being done, this is the largest response that the u.s. government with respect to an oil spill in history. there are 20,000 people out there, 1000 vessels that are out there. the president has authorized the national guard in the states to be split up and do what it takes to protect the gulf coast. no effort, no resources is being speared on this protective measure. let me get to your second question on the barrier island. some have said you can construct this thing but it will get washed out right away. one of the things that needs to be done is what ever is constructed out there, and i have been on bulldozers out there putting out whatever protections need to be put out there in different places in alabama, mississippi, and louisiana, they will be done. the commandant is working with
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governor jindal to come up with a program moving forward that does make sense. i have been watching him work this thing 18 and 19 hours a day. the final point would make on your comment on prepared this for spills. it would not see this kind of global response that you see under way of lessons from the past have not been learned. there has been a lot that has been learned and there are lessons that will come from this response. what you see going on in the gulf coast is a manifestation of lessons that have gone on from past spills around the world. >> i ask consent tha thiat this letter be made part of the record. >> so ordered. >> thank you.
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thanks for arranging for this hearing. mr. secretary, i think the american people are right to be demanding of congress to hold bp accountable. you have said in your testimony that you are sure they will pay -- they will pay legitimate costs. elaborated to say that they will pay -- you elaborated that they will pay economic damages and it sounds good. what i picture happening is we will exhaust the trust fund and spent years trying to recover money. the fishing companies and the tourist businesses and everyone else will spend years trying to recover from this. you said you got a letter to the effect this is good. i think we need more.
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55 of us, i along with 55 co- sponsors have legislation to big oil -- the big oil bill of prevention act which would raise the cap on liability which is at the laughably small number of $75 million. would you support a legislative increase in the liability on behalf of american taxpayers, on behalf of the fisheries, on behalf of the small businesses and tourism industry, on behalf of people all across america who want justice and accountability for the big oil bailout prevention act? so that we can be sure that there is formal liability. >> i am going to have the deputy secretary respond to liability because he testified to another
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committee on the same question. from the executive branch side and the law that we currently have, we have pushed bp as far as we can including getting their written in very public -- and very public -- within the law that we have. there are exceptions to the liability limitation including gross land -- negligence and a host of other things. >> to be adjudicated over many years. >> we're doing what we can within the limits of the executive branch to make sure they are held accountable. in changing the law, we are supportive -- there was testimony yesterday from the department of justice and david hayes that focused in on the changes that we're supporting. we will have the deputy secretary address that issue. >> the administration yesterday
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took the position and we take the position that for the highest risk activities in terms of offshore oil and gas development, there should not be a limit in terms of liability on damages. the administration would like to work with congress to establish a essentially a sliding scale of potential liability caps that focus on the relative risks associated with the activities. for the type of activity that occurred here, the administration does not believe there should be a liability cap. >> let me say some of the discussion has to do with the smaller or independent companies and their ability to pay. the consideration should not be that but rather, the ability to harm. a mom-and-pop operation, if you want to call it that, could do $1 billion worth of damage. we have to keep that in mind.
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to follow on the other concerns, what troubled americans so much about this recent -- the ongoing tragedy is the department of the interior, with all of its agencies, including mms, not only seemed not to know the answers to the questions, but they did not know what questions to ask. they did not have in place a mechanism for figuring out even what the size of the leak is. is that 5000? maybe it is over 100,000 barrels. what were we spending our time doing? how can you assure the people that we have got an organization that is putting in place
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procedures to deal with things -- you say this is unprecedented but it was not unimaginable. it was not even unexpected. the procedures for asking the right questions and getting the answers to those questions were not in place. >> i would say that our view is that we have been transparent from day one as we always have in this administration, relative to providing information that we are requested to provide, and we do have a lot of this information that we have provided in respect to what happened. issues relating to the investigation themselves, those are at -- under investigation and those findings will be made public. the question of whether or not there will be live screening of the so-called kill today was one of the questions that was addressed. we pushed for transparency.
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there is full transparency of what is happening on the shore. there is a lot of information we have provided not only to the hearings here in congress on the oil spill, and a host of other things. .
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certainly we all have questions as to who is at fault and we will have time to figure all of that. the priority has been to put a stop to the leaking moral. but also to be focused on cleanup. i've become aware that bp has received up to 40,000 call ins on technology and processes to clean up the call. my concern is that they are getting so many, it is that a place where the federal government should be deeply involved with helping to sit -- sifted through and find and evaluate a process that can clean up the gulf quickly and efficiently? i am concerned that we are not have in that effort. could you respond to that? >> let me say first of all that good ideas have been welcome.
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at the come -- the bp command center is taking those and the national laboratories and united states geological survey have allowed that to come up with many of the decisions being made today. so there have been those efforts as well as other ideas, in that had been evacuated for their efficiency. and that is the same with respect to the cleanup effort which are under way and will be under way. i would ask the deputy secretary to comment on that question as well. >> u.s. the very important and good question. the national incident commander has established in the national incident command of repository of all ideas coming together. so these folks also have the ability to put them into bp but they are all coming to the federal government at the national incident command, the ndp is not making the decision about whether they are good ideas are not. the national incident command
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is. >> i understand it is supposed to be a 48-hour response time, and some of them are taking weeks. there are thousands coming and but it seems we really need to be -- it needs to be the federal government's focus to work with bp and others to evaluate these ideas. >> and commandant allen has greatly increased the capacity to do with those demands. there are varying qualities but some have been useful. >> i yield back my time. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman, and thank you, secretary, for being here. mr. hastings made an important point. i believe that this is not really a time for finger point but a time for accountability. i could not agree more. i also believe that there is a
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historical context to this bill -- to this spill, that we have to have accountability for that, and that of vitally necessary for anything we do policy wise in preventing this thing. i believe that raising total liability caps as a way to protect the taxpayers. this culture -- as culture of the industry facilitation and coziness by responsible federal agencies is part of the historical context. and i think part of the of historical context is the policy of political impulse to drill first and ask questions later. and now the bill for just negligence, regulatory attitude, it is coming due. i do not believe that "droll, baby, drove" was a sound and call for energy development. and some of the slogans like that that led to responsibility
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are going to be put it base of the week and have ample time to do some real structural and transformational changes in the way we conduct our energy development on public land and offshore. but one of the questions i have it in just looking ahead, in response to the bp spill, as you mentioned, mr. secretary, 20,000 personnel, 970 vessels, both aircraft going into the aircraft -- going into the area to clean and contain the spill. soon we will be looking at shell beginning its drilling process in the arctic ocean. does this, mr. secretary, what is going on in the gulf of mexico, does that require or should it require us to pause
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until we know the root causes, the impact, and the devastation that is occurring in the gulf of mexico? the arctic is much more remote, much deeper, much more shallow, and i do think that this would be an opportunity for us to take a deep breath and look at the consequences that we're seeing now, intended or not, and potentially avoid some unintended consequences in the arctic region. do you think this is a reason for pause? >> congressman grivalva, in response to your questions, first with respect to the culture, that is in fact what we have been doing, trying to move forward with a balanced view toward development that says you do not drill everywhere, and when you do allow for exploration, you are doing it in the right places and in the right way.
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what has happened out in the west, how reform efforts have been met with some very stiff resistance, but we continue to push. the same thing is true with respect to the offshore, and specifically with respect to the arctic, there were five proposed leases put forward in the 2007- 2012 plan. we announced on month and a half ago that those would be pushed back because we felt that there was additional information that needed to be developed with respect to finance and with respect to oil response capabilities and a whole host of other issues. with respect to the five exploratory wells in the arctic better under the approved exploration plan, those are being examined and adjustments will be made in the days or weeks ahead that would address
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that particular issue. >> and back to one of the structural questions that i believe mr. miller brought up as well, part of the historical context has to do with the simple analysis or the categorical waiver has opposed to an impact statement. mr. secretary, do you feel that it is not a prudent route to require full impact statements on all potential drilling sites before police are sale is conducted? i know you extended the period to 90 days. that is appreciated. i think the question still lingers, not only is that enough time but are we getting a look at the awful unintended consequences by doing the full report? >> i would say that it is important to look at the environmental reviews that actually do take place with respect to all of these leases.
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this particular lease sale underwent seven different informal reviews including a major environmental impact statement. we do that before you put together a plan. you have another informal impact plan before you put forward and conduct the lease sale prepare our report -- a variety of environmental reviews done before the drilling actually commences. there are changes that have to be made. two things are under way with respect to what we do with environmental development. the first is the joint effort with the council of and pharmacology taking a look at the informal reviews within the department of interior to see how it is that they might be improved, and so that report will give us some guidance on whether there places for improvement. and secondly, the president's proposal to congress that you eliminate the 30-day mandatory requirement for exploration
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plans, that would be helpful as well because it will be difficult to do the rigorous environmental assessment if you are compressed by the law to turn around in 30 days. >> thank you, mr. secretary. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and mr. secretary, thank you for being here today. in previous testimony that you have given, you said you have concerns about raising the liability for companies under the oil pollution act too hive which could drive out small and medium-sized operators in the ocs peer review of all solid knowledge that bp has "confirmed that it will pay for all of these costs and damages, unquote. the believe that we should take the simple step of legislating the effects that would legislate the offer paid by bp to alter the contract with the federal government to put into law their offer to pay off all associated cost with this disaster?
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jordan as david hayes testified, it is important that we do the right thing. in the heat of the moment of a crisis like this, sometimes decisions are made to have an unintended consequences. and so the administration has taken an approach that the secretary and the department of justice testified yesterday that would look at the liability limitations that are related to the levels of risk associated with it. and so as we work with the members of the congress in fashioning the liability regime in going forward, it is important that we be thoughtful about the different risks and realities. >> thank you for that answer. and secondly, we all want to get to the bottom of this tragedy, and i think we all agree that finger-pointing will not get us there. i do not understand -- i have to be real honest year -- why you
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and others keep harping on what mms did or did not do in the previous administration when you did know about this big problem when you came into office and you have been charged with this -- of this for more than a year now. why are we not talking about here and now? >> we are talking about here and now and that is why people have been terminated and referred over to prosecution, and we have a lot to clean the house at mms. unlike the priorate ministration, this is not from the oil and gas kingdom which you and others were part of. we look forward -- we will go for it in a matter that is holding those accountable, and those that while at the law, congressman, will be terminated and whenever sanctions or program, they will be applied. >> thank you.
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mr. chair, in the remaining moments of time, i like to defer to my colleague from louisiana, representative cassidy. >> thank you, mr. lam born. secretary salazar, just to be specific, argues stating or implying that there is a deck -- direct relationship between the actions or inactions in mms with respect to this particular spill? >> that testimony that i provided here in september of last year reference two different things. the first is that the efforts of the chairman of this committee and other members of this congress as well as the senate was very appropriate, and that we needed to move forward with organic legislation, given the importance of the mission of this department. i believe that very much to be the case.
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now with respect to administrative action that we have taken -- >> no, this particular spill -- in fact, bp has put out a document where they go half-hour by half hour in a show from their perspective what happened. i am just wondering, does it mms in their brief to initial an internal review, had they said to themselves a specific thing that they should or should not have done with respect to this particular spill? >> congressman, this is a bp mess. >> i understand that. but there is blame to be had all around. >> let me just finish. it is important that we know the truth and the whole truth and that includes the truth about the government and what the government did do or did not do. i ordered the inspector general, mary kendall, to take a look at this particular issue, to find out what mms did do or did not do. we will have investigative
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information that will come forward. everybody needs to be held accountable and that includes the federal government. >> so the answer is -- i guess the answer is that you do not yet know if there's a specific role that mms had in this, beyond the general kind of like -- >> what i do have is a preliminary internal investigation about the incident itself which is where the focus has been that has been provided to me. we have and the members of this committee have led by ameriquest, to give us a result of their investigation so that people who have been working on that investigation and we have a copy of that investigation and we have asked mary candle to do two things. shias inspector general of the department for the first is to look at the issues relating to this matter of the deepwater horizon, and she is involved in
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that investigation. and i master look specifically at conduct of mms employees that will update the report which will be the subject of testimony in the panel that follows this one. i want to know whether or not the ethical mandates and orders an additional people and consequences that were brought to people who violated ethics rules in the past, which we began to implement right after january 2009, have been effective or whether they have not. >> that is not for the specific incident. >> there is an investigation for this specific incident, yes. >> i yield. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. secretary, in scripture we watchmen? what system of internal surveillance and security, sometimes called in the police
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department internal affairs, does interior and specifically mms has to watch those who are supposed to approve the projects for safety and combat ability -- combat ability for environment around it? do you have internal security to watch those people who obviously, according to reports, or misbehaving? do you have that system now? did you have it before? when you increase the system of internal surveillance to make sure that we have someone who watches the watchmen? >> the existing system consists of the ethics programs that we put into place including having full-time ethics person now that are involved in training and oversight, including people we have hired in places like the mms office in colorado.
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secondly, the inspector general, who has been very involved in not only this administration but the prior administration helping to watch what is going on camera pointing to the american people, has done an exemplary job in terms of and on applying responses. thirdly, we have proposed the creation of a bureau of safety and environmental enforcement within the reorganized agency that will help us make sure that you have the appropriate policeman on the job. >> said the ethics committee goes beyond just inspiring people to do what is right, but it actually watches to make sure that they are doing what is right, internal surveillance. >> from day one, we had a zero tolerance policy with respect to ethics violations. and the inspector general has
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informed us of ethics violations and appropriate action has been taken, including referrals, which had directed over to the department of justice for review. that kind of an effort has been in place. the reorganization that included -- that will include doing an organic act, which the chairman has suggested, will be taken into account >> hal, and was the misconduct of those that mms? was a part of a culture? was it becoming contagious before your tenure? >> congressman, i have to say that in my view, the events that happened in the first inspector report -- inspector general report that came with the time before my office, the scandal has been reprehensible.
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i also have to say, congressman kildee, that numerous reports from the inspector general that addresses the conduct which is pre-obama administration, is all "-- also equally reprehensible. when the inspectors are taking trips and they played for jets, i think that is wrong and reprehensible, and indeed criminal. and so i think that we need to have a top hat -- a hand with respect to people who violated ethical standards of our public servants. >> was the beginning to become part of the culture of mms? >> my own view is that it was a part of a culture of mms and part of the culture of the prior in ministration, but coziness with industry, where industry was running the show.
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we of change that. we recognize the importance of industry, and i am sure there will continue to play an import a role in the future development of the oil and gas resources in that country, but the relationship is one which we have worked very hard in changing, the appropriate on length relationship that should exist between those who regulate and those who are regulated. >> i have been in government for 45 years and you see a bad cop, it breaks your heart. eupepsia culture developing within the department, and then you have a very serious problem. i certainly commend you for trying to change that culture. we want to put some people in jail, perhaps, but after putting people in jail, that does not do -- undo the damage that took place in the gulf. if we can change that culture, that will be a very important thing, and thank you, mr. secretary. >> if i may, mr. chairman,
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congressman kildee, you raise a very important question that we've been working on, and that there is a need for statutory configuration for an agency that has a very important function. as i testified here in september of last year, an agency that has these responsibilities surveying $23 billion a year, an agency that has as its responsibility the development of the nation's energy problem -- solutions in our motion, and yet this agency, mms, has existed back yet -- by fiat since 1982. the proposal that the chairman and other members of the congress as well as senators have been working on now to do organic legislation is something that i testified in support of
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last year, as well as doing the kind of organizational changes that we have been doing on the ground. i would expect that when we emerge from this, that we will be in a much stronger position to address the concerns that you raised with respect to a culture which is not serve the american people well. >> thank you very much, mr. secretary. >> thank you, mr. secretary, for joining us today. thank you for your records. i want to began by saying that as my colleagues have said previous to this, i sing this process is being a constructive process, a process to make sure when or in the things that i've gone on, to make sure they do not happen in the future, and that they are prevented. i had an opportunity a couple of weeks ago to travel to the gulf and fly over the area from mississippi to louisiana. i really understand what is going on.
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i had a couple of concerns that i saw, and one is, i was really moved by the frustration of people in the area, whether fishermen or citizens. secondly was, looking at the process there, there seemed to be a disjointed as to it, a lack of coordination, and i know there is an oral response plan, i know that local government and state government and federal government get together and go through an exercise to look at that, a tabletop exercise or the completeness of that exercise, i think that is something that needs to be looked at. there's an incident command her looking at making sure that things are coordinated. but it did seem like to me that where oil began to appear, there was not a timeline is in making sure that the response was there. it was also some frustration with local fishermen there as to including them in the process. it seemed like to me that the whole idea of adapting to these crises was not part of this
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process of looking at how we put together a response plan. it is a dynamic event in making sure that we have the power to adapt aa measure -- manage is critically important. one element that was very compelling to me, i know the use of dispersants was a critical element of this and we all know what happens with dispersants. you break orlop into particles, and then the state suspended in the water column or eventually goes to the bottom. is there an element in the whole planning process that takes into account the suspension of oil in the water column and what you would have to do to respond to that? i hope it does not turn out to be an "out of sight, out of mine" scenario. i hope that the impact of that suspended oil, and especially dropping to the bottom, it is as that term on all, if not more so, then that which washes up on
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the beach. i was wondering if you could tell us where the planning stands with suspended on oil or oil that makes his way to the bottom, and how that is incorporated into the planning process and the response scenarios? >> congressman whitman witt -- wittman, with respect to the oil, the administrator of the epa has spent a lot of first- time ended gulf area. she has been working with the department of congress -- that the -- the department of commerce and noaa. we of scientists working from the beginning on how well can be shut off into other issues. there is a meeting with the best scientists will come together. we're very much working on it.
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on the first observation relative to frustration, it is reality that frustration is out there, but i can tell you there is a huge amount of effort to address the specific frustrations. secretary napolitano and i along with six members of the u.s. senate were in the louisiana area the day before yesterday meeting with the oyster and commercial fishermen and others, and what we will do under the commanders authority, that allen, do everything we can to make sure that people who are concerned, whose livelihoods are at risk, who still concerned about what will happen with their long-term livelihood, that their concerns are addressed. >> one last comment. i think the whole concept of management in this crisis is critical, and i bring an example. i was talking with some oystermen, and they had an area of oysters that had not been impacted yet by this bill.
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they said that they would like to be held have the flexibility to go in and harvest those oysters to take advantage of that resource, and then that this bill comes in, then the area should be closed. but to have been the planning process of planning scenario and response scenario, the ability for some odd active management. i realize that there are requirements in place, but it seems like in the planning scenario is that there have to be the idea of being able to adapt ad management, to say, during this scenarios, let's go ahead and put the bureaucratic hurdles in the background and give people the power to make timely, a thoughtful decisions and held these responses come about. i think that is critical and one of the elements that sometimes is missing in giving people confidence and decision making elements there on the government side, and it goes back to
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whether opening orchard beds or sand berms are those kinds of things. timeliness in being able to make decisions on the run, a responsible decision, but make them on the run, in these areas, it is critical. i hope that becomes part of the learning process that we go through as we evaluate how this is unfolded in the gulf. >> congressman, i would only say that admiral that alan -- thad allen is probably the most experienced person in the country in terms of responding to these types of crisis. we're on the phone with them every day. deputy secretary, david hayes, the white house, and i get an update on what is going on in when problems are discovered, we take action to address them and we will continue to do that. and part of what you describe, being able to make quick and
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responsible decisions that would fall under rubric of what he described directly as adaptive management. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, secretary, for being here today. it is hard to overstate the scope and dimensions of this disaster. i was just saying to my colleague, i think we're on the one-yard line in terms of understanding of how much the damage this will do our long- term. i wanted to return to the chairman's question at the outset of the hearing. he-to whether this was a game changer -- he asked you whether this was a game changer and i guess you could look at that from a variety of angles. i'm focused on whether it is a game changer in our approach offshore drilling. we have obviously my credit from
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a time when we had a moratorium to win the wit -- when we began discussing a certain mileage ban offshore to where now, i guess, there are a set of presumptions that operate in how we go forward. i understand we're focused on the tragedy at hand primarily, but i think it is important to anticipate where the next tragedy might occur. and now we have a number of people on the committee here today who are thinking about what could happen in their part of the world, so to speak. it is fair, i think, to anticipate this a little bit because the foundation is being laid now and in the various comments that we hear on what the narrative is going to be, going forward. and i would urge you to think about this event as a game changer and to stimulate a total re-evaluation of the policy
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approach that we're having now to on short -- offshore drilling. i speak to somebody represents a good part of the chesapeake bay. we have representative wittman who has a interest in that. another was a year earlier. there is a virginia parcel, oil and gas lease sale to under 20, -- 220, which is a few miles off the eastern shore of virginia. this was part of a five-year plan that was issued for 2007- 2012 under the bush administration, and contemplated a lease sale there. the obama administration had announced recently its own intentions to proceed with that lease sale for that are so, this virginia parcel, by 2012, assuming that various due
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diligence and out. -- panned out. obviously the chesapeake bay is a national treasure and we're concerned -- i am concerned, speaking for myself -- about plans to proceed for this. my question to you in this game changing perspective that i am urging upon you, do you believe that there will be a reevaluation, serious reevaluation, about whether to proceed with this lease sale of the virginia parcel, this oil and gas lease sale 220, which is miles off the eastern shore of virginia? >> congressman sarbanes, i believe that the chesapeake bay is one of those landscapes of national significance, and there are others around this country. we will move forward in ways that hopefully have a robust agenda in terms of their
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restoration and their development. with respect to the game change your comment that you made, and the va lease sale, let me say to this committee that there are three options. the first option is to shut down all drilling and development in the outer, nor shall. no more offshore development. the sec is to not make any changes in simply move forward with the plans as they have been announced. and the third is to make adjustments based on the lessons that are being learned. the president has said from the very beginning of december, we will learn and make adjustments as we move forward, so i would ask you to stay tuned and there will be additional announcements that will be coming as the president's considers different options. >> off fourth option or a version of one of those options that you mentioned, seems to me, would be to begin establishing
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presumptions in one direction versus another. in other words, a presumption against offshore drilling in certain places. these presumptions can be overcome. they can be rebuttable based on the evidence that is brought forward, and the comfort level we have about the technologies that are available, but i do not see the harm in beginning a narrative about establishing presumptions against offshore drilling in certain highly sensitive areas. as opposed to come of resumption that goes the other way and then has to be rebutted to stop it. i think that is the game changing nature of this event. that is the type -- the type of lens we ought to be putting on if it going for it, and i would urge you to adopt it just not -- not just the area i have in the chesapeake bay but for many other areas around the country. >> i will say this, congressman
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sarbanes, and in was precisely because we're trying to strike those types of balances that we said that bristol bay in alaska was a place that was too important to be developed and it ought to be taken off the development map, and we said that -- the president said that. it is precisely because of your situation here is that we do not know enough about the chesapeake and overseas to allow further listen up in the arctic. the precise doubts of your comments, when we look at all the other factors that are in support of the outer continental shelf land mass, that was a place that was envisioned there would be robust production, because that is where the infrastructure was, that is where we have the state support and a whole host of other factors. i hear what you're saying. there are places which are too sensitive. we ought not to be drilling there.
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we're not drilling in the pacific in large part because of the head -- the sensitivities. it is something that we are aware of. >> thank you, mr. chairman. secretary salazar and deputy secretary hayes, thank you for coming to the committee. i think mr. kildee said best when talking about in a mess, -- about mms, a concern that there may be a culture that leads this agency to be a dysfunctional agency, and this is a bipartisan problem. this has occurred not simply over the last administration but the administration before that. and so my concern is that this goes beyond the consideration of ethics.
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his confidence, everything i read about this agency -- is confidence -- competence. everything i read about this agency seems to contribute to this today, its lack of oversight has led us to where we are today, and that i am glad to hear that we are in agreement it is vital to the united states to develop these offshore energy resources. and certainly that we are in agreement that it is necessary to balance the concerns of the economic needs of this country with safety and environmental concerns. and i do not think, based on what i've heard, and i look forward to the testimony of the inspector general later on today, that mms is capable of
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doing this job going for it. and there is no question that there needs to be of reorganization of this entity, separating the revenue and royalties side of this organization from the safety and environmental enforcement side of it. but i also believe, given the history of this organization, given the fact that there has not been the necessary leadership from the department of interior in terms of their ability to turn this around to where the american people can have confidence that we can do offshore oil development safely and environmentally in a sound way, that it needs to be moved outside, that these functions need to be reorganized and moved outside of the department of the interior. mr. salazar, when you say, i have been on this job since day
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one, not since april 20, 2010 -- but i do not think you have been on this job from january 20, 2009 when it comes to cleaning up this mess in this department. those are my concern. maybe you can certainly tell maie what assurances you can gie to the american people that going forward you can change what is an incredible dysfunctional agency. what is going to be different, going forward, in this agency and mms when you were then there -- the new share of on january 20, 2009 and you have not been able to make a difference? given the fact that we're in a crisis situation right now in terms of going forward? >> congressman, i will say this.
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the employees of the department and the history of this department and the history of this congress and the development of the hour, nor shall has included the development of for a 36,000 wells in the gulf of mexico without this kind of an incident. and so when you look back of the history and the safety record, there has been a lot of good and the energy that you have consumed in your constituents and everyone else's concern, about 30% has come from domestic production, actually comes from the gulf of mexico. that having been said, there is no doubt that there does need to be reform of this agency and we have had made major reforms, including the elimination of the reform program, the ethics standards we a part in place, the ethics personnel, and we have requested and had been in front of this committee does a
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day and made for our ganic legislation is something we need to replace. my final view on it is very simple. you have a good agency and the department of interior, a cabinet position established back in 1849, and you have organizations within the agency like the united states geological survey, the fish and wildlife service, and other agencies. we can do the same thing with the newly created agency that can manage these areas in our motion so that we can safely develop renewable energy as well as safely develop oil and gas resources. that is my position and that will be my position as we move forward and we learn the lessons from this incident. >> mr. chairman, i yield back. gentlema>> mr. secretary, i wano commend you for your hard work in your focus on this terrible
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accident that has taken place, not only the loss of lives but the recovery focus that frustrates all of us, clearly. and i appreciate your response to what is a wide variety of views among this committee, talking about perspective, where we are and the importance of the energy resource. i f several questions i want ask you. i believe we have to use all the energy tools in our energy toolbox. you indicated that 30% of our energies produced in the gulf and we need to remind yourself that every energy source that we utilize in this country is not without risk. over a month ago, we had a tragic coal mining accident that took place. our job, i think, and government is to deal with the risk assessment and risk management to ensure that we can minimize the risk while allowing this country to deal with a long-term
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energy policy that is long overdue that you have talked about and many of us have discussed. i hope that in reflection of all that, that this terrible accident does not end of providing a reason for a death knell to continuing what i think is important utilization of oil and gas, both on and off shore and public lands. i want to know how you are trying to deal with the situation in reassessing risk assessment with risk-management, realizing that you're trying to triage the situation right now, but as we go forward, the real question in my mind is, how do we convey a sense of confidence that has not been damaged with the american public that your department can adequately manage their risk safely, so that we can go forward? >> thank you very much,
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congressman costa. it is important to note one of your premises and that nothing that we do is risk free and there are always going to be risk. it is important to create a program that does in fact minimize those risks. we will deliver an interim safety report to the president tomorrow that will address. >> that is tomorrow? >> to create safety. .
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we want to make sure that this does not happen again. when you look at other oil and gas spills. somewhere near 3.5 million barrels. these were somewhere in the order of 10 million barrels th. this is larger than what we will see in the gulf of mexico.
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>> the subcommittee that i chair will be re-examining the proposal that you have talked about on reorganizing mineral and management services. we want to work in coordination with the department and we don't intend to rubber-stamp the proposal. we don't think rearranging the boxes will suffice in terms of taking corrective action. next month, the hearings will be held. we have health hearings on this
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for three years and a lot more work needs to be done. this is a collaborative process and not one that simply, while the department is on the right track, we need to make sure that the fox is not guarding the hen house as we noted with the collusion and cozy relationships with minimal management services and industry. we wanted to ensure that you would be there in a cooperative and collaborative fashion. >> you have my commitment. the team that is working on the reorganization is already working with staff members and we would be happy to work with you relative to the development. i have no interest in shifting
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labels or juggling boxes. we are looking at a fundamental reorganization. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to follow along the line of questioning, i am hopeful that as we continue that we can provide you the tools you need in order to make this agency function well and that might include things like the opportunity to retain your best employees and to fire employees that need to be eliminated from employment. to the extent that you might need some exemptions from normal personnel rules in order to accomplish that, i believe you should request to those.
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and when i had a troublesome employee, i could spend my second term in office fighting this person or i could learn to live with the bad employee. i think that that happens too often under government personnel rules. when an effort needs to be made to purge an agency and start over and put in a new design. sometimes you need new tools in an exceptional situation. i hope you will ask for some of those tools.
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one of the situations is that when you get a great employee, but your best employees leave and go into the regulation industry. you should have flexibility to purge the agency of employees that no longer fit. there are oil and gas companies based in spain, norway, india, malaysia, brazil, and nearby the gulf, china. all of which are least in the
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gulf. how can we assure ourselves of the safety of their operations and based upon my everreview was 100% avoidable by british petroleum. the consequences to the gulf, the environment and to 11 families who lost family members is shocking. i laid the blame on british petroleum to take the consequences of raising the cap on liability so the only
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companies that can participate are those that it self insured and the british petroleum is one that self insures. one of these will be british petroleum and this is the company the cost the problem. i am not convinced of the some of the solutions being offered are the right solutions. priam hopeful but as we continue this dialogue that you will provide us on information how we can make you a successor to mms with special emphasis on the safety of people and the safety of the environment. >> thank-you.
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we will be looking forward for additional tools on the president's request. on your second question, and they operate on the american taxpayers' resources and they will abide by the law and we will enforce the law. >> thank you. mms used to stand for mineral and management services. this now stands for mismanagement, misconduct, and spills. some would like to suggest that this is the fault of the obama
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administration. some are now shocked at the gambling with our environment that was going on in the coil and gas industries offshore casino. they failed to see any connection between the drilling and the current catastrophe that we now face. some have question the patriotism of keeping your foot on their neck. i want to congratulate you for your very good work in trying to keep everyone focused. british petroleum has not been entirely candid and open with the american people about this
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disaster. initially they estimated that 1,000 barrels of oil per day were leaking into the gulf. on april 28th, 2010, a new leak was affected and we pushed the estimate to of these 5,000 barrels per day. the chief operating officer was initially quoted that day saying that he believed that the full rate of 1,000 barrels per day was accurate. the cannot believe that this changes the current amount believed to be released. yesterday i was provided with an internal document dated april 27th, 2010 and was cited as confidential and it gave if an estimate of the amount of oil
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leaking. below estimate was 1,603 barrels per day. the best guess was 5007 and 58 barrels per day. the high estimate was 4000 to london 66. they have also turned over another document dated april 26th which included a 5,000 barrel per day as well. when they were citing the figure on april 20th, the internal documents showed that the best guess was a leak of 5007 and a 68 per day and the high estimate was more than 14,000 that were spilling into the gulf. do you believe that they were being straight with the american
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people when they were siding in the low end? our push has been for them to be transparent. this operation is in response to our direct relationship between the u.s. and bp. in the quantity is a very important issue for a whole host of reasons. we want the u.s. to have independent verification.
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>> was there any reason why they would have a financial interest in underestimating how much oil was leaking? >> liability the supply with the amount of the oil spill. a huge focus on the part of everyone involved is to stop the solution. >> any owner operator of the facility that discharges of oil is subject to civil penalties of less than $1,000 per barrel.
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the difference between 5,000 barrels and 14,000 could really be the difference between five- 15 million barrels per day in fines and 14-42 barrels of oil per day. how does the flow rate have an impact on whether the procedure will be sequestered? -- be successful? >> with respect to this type of project which is under way as we speak, 5,000 feet below the sea level, the best data and diagnostics have been developed.
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-- has been there with the team. the exact question, i can refer to the scientists. i don't think it would impact what is happening today. >> bp continues to say that the amount of oil leaking does not affect the response. i think that the american people need to know the truth. the scientists need to know if there are other undersea plumes of will in the gulf and bp should want to know. they should want to know how fast it is leaking because that determines what they need to do
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it in order to stop the leak. >> this is a very important point and we have been working on a to very hard house for some time. >> we understand that bp is ready to proceed with their procedure and you need to leave so that you can monitor the situation. is that correct? >> that is correct, there are some critical decisions that want to make sure i am watching. >> i anders stand that. you will leave the deputy here to respond? >> yes. -- i understand it thathat.
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>> the congressman raises very important points about the need for independent scientific understanding of the flow rate. a flow rate task force was formed last week that is made up of distinguished government and independent scientists. they have been using three different types of analysis. >> thank you for your work. i think the american public will be glad that we finally know how big this bill is. >> thank you. >> all members will be able to
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submit questions for the record. the secretary will respond to those questions submitted in writing. is that accurate? >> i think that that is important because many members will not have an opportunity. the last time that you were here was 8 months ago in september. we have questions that we have not gotten responses for. we have not gotten responses and we would like to give responses to those questions. if you do that, i would appreciate that. >> thank you, mr. secretary. we understand that the $13 billion that has been taken in, 60% is off of the coast of
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louisiana. there was a failure of imagination. by the second day, there is more dispersant used them in one day in the history of oil drilling. the only test in terms of control of deepwater and deep drilling, that was deep. it seems that an appropriate response would have been proactive. if we're going to have a spill, what is the affect of the dispersant what is the effect upon the fishing industry?
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this law have a different impact on a plume, etc.. we have been contributing to the royalties. >> what doing about the volumes used? what do we know about the plume? why wasn't this considered
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before the fact? >> it is the response plan that has been implemented. there are issues that have been raised. >> i am told that scientists have not been fall. my contacts are very concerned about fat.
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and -- about that. if we are going to have a response plan, there should be research done about what oil bust when it is released in the deep. >> i would say that there are many people here who had been involved in the development of the outer continental shelf programs and the 2005-2007 energy act. there were many hearings held with respect to those changes made in along and there were many issues dealt with in those hearings and the agency's relative to the opportunity they made a judgment that deepwater judgment should be encouraged and incentivized >> there was a
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trial run dowdone in 2004. this is the california spill of national significance which is not even deepwater. it seems that there was not anything done for deepwater in particular. >> of the commander is in charge of the exercise you are referring to. he believes this was very
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successful. he administers the oil pollution act of 1990. they have the responsibility. on the dispersant issue, they are using far less than if they were relying on the surface. if mr. jackson reached an agreement and ordered british petroleum to reduce the amount -- >> i was told by the second day that more had been used than ever in the history of the oil spill. for a catastrophic spill, it is not known. >> this is an extraordinary event.
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if mr. jackson working with your local universities have established the protocol. they have been pressing hard to make sure that those used are in fact will break down quickly and will not have long-term effects. we will learn some lessons here. the congress put together a plan which requires pre approval of the dispersants. we will find out if this is adequate or if new rules need to be put in place. >> i hope he will use this as an
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inspiration to chart our colleagues to get off the of the time and passed a clean energy bill so we can move to the cleaner sources of fuel. i hope that you will continue your efforts. i want to ask you about the northern seas. we know that there has been a statement that we will put a moratorium on permits for drilling. these have not been started yet by shell and this is 93. i read a statement from a vice president of shell, we will withhold this. can we get it your commitment until we have this review.
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they commit to doing their job? >> the safety report i have been working on for most of the evening and night will be delivered to the president. there are decisions that will be made with respect to adjustment.
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there are millions of acres that will be released and there are other responses that one need to be addressed. we will take this opportunity as well end of this underscores the leadership of many members of the committee to move us forward into a new energy frontier to do the kinds of things that are happening with respect to wind energy and solar energy. we will have permitted more than 5,000 megawatts in wind and solar energy. i was in utah a few weeks ago and people in the high school, but kids have developed the
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idea of creating a new energy revolution within that part of utah. they have a wind energy form which will produce 1,000 megawatts of power. a geothermal plant which is producing close to 50 megawatts of power right in the same facility. also the construction of a transmission line for renewable energy. >> americans are frustrated about this.
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and the navy is not equipped to do this work. the people want a mix of the federal government. for those that have the expertise, they might have the industry. they should contract with the industry to perform that work. we're using the expertise that we need. is this something that we are looking at?
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>> that is a good question, let me just say that admiral fallon, who i've worked with every single day, we are holding british petroleum accountable. that accountability effort that we have under way, we have them by the neck and we will keep them by the neck through everything that we have to do here. we have put into place the command center in the oval office. everything is being done. it is humanly and technologically possible to stop the pollution and make sure that the pollution is cleaned up?
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those who are affected by this are in fact made whole. >> thank you. >> thank you, mr. secretary. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. >> thank you for coming. thank you for coming. this environmental disaster has destroyed untold natural resources. it will have a devastating impact on the economy of the gulf coast four years or decades to come. the most important thing we need to do is to get this spill under control before it does more damage. tough questions might be asked in the weeks ahead.
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unconcerned that the government has not taken the lead. too much reliance has been placed on british petroleum to find and fix this problem. we are 36 days and the federal government is looking for this petroleum to take with in the lead. the secretary is putting his finger at british petroleum. he does not point it at himself or the department. this past sunday, the secretary said in regard to british petroleum "we are 33 days into this effort and deadline after deadline has been missed. if we find they're not doing what they're supposed to be doing, we will push them out of the way appropriately pierre ."
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earlier, an animal was asked about this and he said "we are defining this as we go." -- and admiral was asked about this. "to push bp out of the way would raise the question, to replace them with what?" "they just need to do their job ." it is clear that the federal government has not taken the lead from the first day.
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i heard the secretary say that it is british petroleum's responsibility and he said this over and over. you guys have been doing everything that you can do and i find that totally incorrect. mr. secretary, do you believe that the department's response has been adequate. >> we expect companies like this to fully fund and implement the cleanup. it establishes a structure under the contingency plan and a national incident commander. this has the responsibility and
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oversight of the responsible party. that is absolutely occurring. let me suggest a separation between two issues because i think you are confusing these situations. the coast guard has stood up and an organization of over 20,000 people in the gulf of mexico responding to this bill. you have heard the testimony about the thousands of ships or employees, the millions of miles of dispersant. this is the most coordinated response effort ever. the other piece is what is going on in terms of stopping the flow. we have experts in the navy and a nobel prize-winning doctor turned to we have the heads of three national labs.
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every decision that british petroleum is making, they are asking us for permission today's top kill is the result of "intense coordination with them. the best technology is the technology that technology brings to bear. they are doing it under our direction. there complete livelihood is at stake. there is no question about the commitment of the federal government and the effort of response. for someone who has been working on this matter hours at it occurs, the suggestion that we are not putting everything into this effort is disappointing to say the least and incorrect by any empirical measure. >> i respectfully disagree.
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federal vessels were sitting there idle and the state had to take there are emergency management authority to try to get to this bill. i don't mistake that there are a two pressing issues, one is stopping the continual flow of oil into the gulf and the second is finding out what is there. now, believe an understanding that the federal government has the responsibility under the law to take the lead role and you have not done that. shouldn't you have taken this from the very beginning? >> the gentleman's time has expired. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you for holding this hearing. there have been calls for a national disaster declaration.
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the impact will be long reaching. will the response be any better or any stronger will this be -- or stronger? will this be declared a national disaster? >> i'm not an expert of the legalities of the different type of impacts. we are under the responsibility of -- the normal kind of disaster declaration that triggers under the stafford act actually requirements for states to provide matching funds is not appropriate and that would be
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accountablcounterproductive. there is a different type of disaster that can be called under the act dealing with the fisheries. the administration has the lead with the department of the homeland security they're making sure that every resource available through whatever mechanism is a brit and they are being followed up to the maximum extent. >> i want to clarify, there is a mentor and -- a moratorium in place. the projects are still being approved. can you give me some reassure me?
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>> the policy was to put a moratorium on approving new applications to drill offshore until the secretary presents a report on an interim safety measures. the moratorium is focused on the fact that since april 20th, new applications have not been approved or afford. there were two that were approved after april 20th was suspended. there has been no new applications in a permit to drill. while ongoing drilling processes, there has been some revisions and some cited drills for safety purposes. they have been allowed to continue because those are
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changes. those have been reported as new permits. they are not new permits. it has been reported that there are new approval plants. that is true. the approval of an expiration plan does not lead to a permit. the president will receive the report and then the decisions will be made. >> one of the most important parts is the dissemination of their requirements. when i talked to some of the officials in louisiana, this is really being led by the media and by people who are panicking because they are concerned there
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are so out conflicting statement. how can you take control of this message? this hampers the ability of the administration to move forward. >> it is important. we are try to manage the information flow. although the interior department, commerce department, british petroleum people are working together and did the to medications come out of the joint command. that process is up and running
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and it is going well and that is the primary mechanism that we are doing. it is a tremendous coronation effort. >> my time is up. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you for coming today and speaking with us on this important topic. over two weeks ago, our governor requested permission to dredge the shoreline to have a barrier and to protect our coastline and natural resources. about six days ago, the entire delegation sent a letter to the
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corps of engineers and to admiral allen requesting an answer. we are well over two weeks. the people of louisiana are waiting for an answer. mr. deputy secretary, will we get an answer today? >> as the secretary testified, the common dent is in contact with the governor on this issue. the primary issue is understanding whether this will do more harm than good in terms of mitigating an oil spill. those discussions are continuing. i'm sure that they will mature into a final decision very soon. the main concern of the national commander has not been to make the situation worse.
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>> it will use here within a week? >> absolutely. can i expect an answer in three- five days? >> it would be best to put that to common dent alan that i can assure you that the answer is forthcoming. -- commandant allen but i can assure you that an answer is forthcoming. >> the secretary referred to conversations and a discussion. isn't this really paralysis through analysis? we have 84 miles of shoreline that are affected. by time we will figure out this will work, it will be too late to do anything. >> the proposal was to build 90 miles of barrier islands the
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concern is that it would wash away in a matter of months with the first storm of sent and in connection with the operation that oil would be drawn into the marshes that they're trying to protect. those are serious questions that go to the appropriateness of this mechanism. there is a team working on this very hard, working in communication with the delegation of the governor. we have a shared interest in getting the right answer and i am confident that the commandant and the governor will close on this end. >> we have been hearing comments about how the problems with mms
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have contributed to this problem. this has happened on president obama swatch, i am not here to blame. i think that president bush and his administration clearly has blame in this. i am happy with the statements made today that it was the problem, the candy store. this was a comment made by the secretary. this was a close relationship between corpcorporate america ad the bush administration.
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isn't is covering on the backside continually pointing fingers rather than accepting the fact that this occurred during the obama administration. wouldn't it be more constructive to look at what is happening at this moment going forward rather than constantly pointing fingers? >> perhaps so but we just received a report within the report which focused on inappropriate behavior which occurred under the previous administration. those issues are front and center. the commissioner was presented with that situation when he walked in.
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we are interested in finding out what happened here. we don't know whether the culture of mms really had a connection with this or not. we will find out. the combination with the president's commission will help to give us the answers. we look forward to getting those answers. that is where we need to go. >> this was permitted under a categorical exclusion and it was based on a prior environmental impact statement and an
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environmental assessment. that is oddly with the potential environmental impact of drilling in the western and central gulf of mexico. they evaluated the impact of this sale that led directly to this well. we can expect to-3 blowout in the central gulf and 1-2 in the western gulf as a result of the 2007-2012 sales. since the loss of local control and blowouts, these are rare and a short duration, potential impacts are not expected to be significant. now that we know a blowout might be of a very long duration and it obviously has significant impact, do you believe that you should consider the underlying environmental studies and other decisions that do not take the
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consequences very seriously of a deep water blowout? >> and garmin told quality council is working with us to do a review as it applies to the continental shelf leasing. we will look at the reviews. there are some limitations under in current law. the other observation is that under the oil pollution act of 1990, there is actually a requirement for a spill response plan to be put together on a worst-case analysis. bp was required to put together a response plan that truly did
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explore the worst case. there is no question that this need to be updated with an idea of the lessons of this accident. >> when we talk about the alaska leases and some of those have been granted, many of them were canceled before they were actually least, to the leaseholders have a contingency
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plan in place for if something like this happens in the arctic? >> they do have spilled response plans in place. those are all appropriately subjected to additional reviews. >> does mms require these for all lease is moving forward? is that being exercised? >> they do and they half. the very robust plan that is required for british petroleum was approved so they do have that authority and responsibility. >> i know the response is unprecedented but i would not characterize what they have been doing as a successful response to this situation and i think we
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need to be careful about how we characterize that. if we use the correct response, the do not or the top kill would have been successful weeks ago. >> the traditional spill response plan looks at those traditional assets that are brought to bear when there is a spill. what we have here is a situation where the containment is the problem. we need to have appropriate mechanisms in place and we will do so. >> thank you, mr. secretary. >> >> thank you, mr. chairman. the appreciate you staying there.
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i hope that you are able to solve the problems of hurricane and skin cancer. the milford flat one not produce a thousand megawatts at best. it can to 200 megawatts of condition. i don't want anyone to accuse the interior and a giving false information. i have been somewhat critical of the interior department in the past. i've no intention of doing a simple and quick rush to judgment. we want to know what the government has done, what could they have done. we want to have the answers and
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then we want to make the adjustments. this is the first step toward getting specifics. i recognize that mms that has a checkered past. during the bush administration, there were problems that these were initiated and completed steering the administration's actions. i hope that we can work to solve the particular problem which is not unique


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