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tv   C-SPAN Weekend  CSPAN  June 4, 2011 2:00pm-6:15pm EDT

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dialogue about this because i think it has grown so big that it presents very serious problems in terms of accountability and transparency and i would love to have you submit for the record more detail about what the pentagon learned in this time period as you said, with improved and involved, that's great. but i want to know what that is and i also want to know how -- what it's applicability is to other places. obviously i have n mind, but i will not burden you with afghanistan. let me ask a separate question quickly. one of the reconstruction folks, one of the things they have suggested is that at this time we have a current office of stabilization and reconstruction. we sort of reinvent the wheel every time something comes up and if we had a centrally located office with expertise,
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knowing the ropes and so forth, providers, nonprofits, everything else, that that would make us frankly more efficient. any comments on that suggestion our observation mr. crowley? >> well, there is an office in the state department that has the purpose of doing exactly that. i think that the ambassador would be better positioned to comment on it. u.s. aid works closely with that office. do in situations where these responses are required, we also have our own office of transition initiatives which is, in itself, built around providing responses to these kinds of situations, working hand in hand with fcrs. >> with to indulge?
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>> the gentleman is recognized for an additional minute. >> mr. crowley is right. there is an office at the state department asked with exactly what you are talking about. under the quadrennial development and diplomacy review, there are a number of suggestions on how the office can be strengthened to fulfil the role you are recommending. >> again, anything back for the record, that would be great. thank you so much. >> with the gentleman from pennsylvania -- we are ready to wrap up the hearing. you are welcome to ask questions, if you have some questions, tom. >> [inaudible] >> if there is no further business before the committee, we would like to thank the panel for their testimony and answering these questions this afternoon. all members have five minutes --
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excuse me, five days to submit questions or statements to the record. if there is no further business before the committee, we are done. thank you. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011] >> monday, live on c-span 3, lieutenant general william caldwell on training an afghan security forces as they train for the reduction of u.s. and nato troops. live it 2:00 p.m. eastern on c- span 3. later that afternoon, the french foreign minister talks about arab unrest in the middle east. watch live coverage at 5:00 p.m. eastern on c-span 3. >> congressman alan west, a member of the armed services committee and iraq war veteran, talked about the role of the
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u.s. military during a discussion held by the heritage foundation. following his remarks, he takes questions from the audience. this is just under one hour. >> [inaudible] protect america month. defense has adapted to protect american security. we had another such advocate today. a member of congress short on official seniority, but long on the influence and defense matters, it is not too much to say that our guest today has
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spent a lifetime of service and sacrifice for the united states of america, which he continues today. congressman alan west received his bachelor's degree while on r.o.t.c. and he went on to get a master's degree from kansas state university both in political science, perhaps foreshadowing what was to come, as well as holding a master from the general staff office in political theory and military operations. i will embarrass the congressman a little bit by talking about his army record. he has been honored many times, including a bronze star. one with valor. he received his valor award as a captain in desert shield and desert storm and was the rotc instructor that was a distinguished graduate from the
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third corps assault school. he proudly wears his air assault badge and the navy, marine corps parasol -- parasail insignia. by am told that the only issue where he may not reflect the views of his constituents is that he is an enthusiastic fan of the tennessee volunteers. i know enough about florida tonight -- to know that that probably gets him in a little bit of trouble. ladies and gentlemen, our honored guest today, colonel alan west, congressman from florida. [applause] >> thank you so much for that introduction. being a proud volunteer, i have to remain concerned with
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decisions that our athletic director has made concerning our basketball team, but not as much as the ohio state fans that have just gotten some bad news. [laughter] when this new facility here was being built i had the opportunity in 2008 to meet with danny. that was my first run for congress. we fell about 5% short, but to be standing here today is absolutely phenomenal. thank you for all of the support, encouragement, and wisdom you have provided to help me become an even better conservative leader for our country. thank you for that, danny. [applause] we are here today during protect america month. for me to bring my experiences from the battlefield here to
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washington, d.c.. operation desert storm and iraqi freedom, wrapping that up back in november of 2007, working with the afghan military in canada are. this is the 21st century battlefield. as you look at the paradigm of battle and combat operations today, it is totally different from what i experienced back in 1982. it was very simple. you had the soviet union on one side, us on the other side. we knew their tactics, their equipment, they knew our uniforms. but that has totally left. so, how does the united states of america, if we are going to be successful, how do we quickly adapt and understand this new battlefield to have success in victory? this is a very complex battlefield. i can tell you that in 1991 it
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was totally different, 12 years later, when i went back in 2003. how do we understand these complexities and make a change? this global conflagration in which we are engaged? i have to tell you, the future is going to be more of a non- uniform state. unless we can get a strategic level perspective, we will never lose at the tactical level of the ground. we have the best care, marines, soldiers the world has ever known. but if they do not have the right kind of operational goals and objectives at the tactical level, no matter how much exertion you are putting on the wheel, you will get tired of not going anywhere. that is not what i want to see
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happen. i do not want to see a repeat of vietnam. where we won on the battlefield constantly, but at the strategic level is where we did not have a great focus or objective. when i hear people talk about the war on terror, i think that is an incredible misnomer. the nation cannot go and fight that tactic. it would be like saying world war ii, we went to war against ups blitzkrieg -- against the blitzkrieg. what has to be presented for us to be successful on this battlefield is an understanding of who we are fighting against. but i hear people saying that we are at war with al qaeda, the taliban, this is so narrowly defined to the point where if we go to war to fight against the
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12 german panzer division, did we go to war against the japanese 55th infantry regiment? if you narrowly define yourself you create gaps. we must remember that before al qaeda, the terrorist group that had inflicted the most damaged by the united states of america was has blocked -- hezbollah. that they have become one of those non-state, non-uniform armies. so capable that they have missiles in their arsenal that can strike every missile -- every city in israel, but we do not see them as being part of an enemy. not so long ago in the 1800's we had an incident with folks that we called the barbary pirates. we sent the marines and the navy. here we are today in the 21st century with the exact same
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thing, somali pirates that we do not know how to contend with. it was one of the questions that i asked the legal team. how do you classify somali pirates? are they just criminals to kill americans, as we know they did with those individuals on a u.s. flag private vessel, we give them constitutional rights and bring them back to this country? where do we see them as part of the 21st century battlefield? part of an islamic terrorist enemy? that is what we must come to contend with. if we do not have strategic level objectives against this enemy or clearly identify who they are, you will cause some much confusion for men and women on the ground. when was the last time you heard over the last 10 years --
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these are our strategic objectives. i have not heard it. that is what is missing. these are the four strategic objectives we should have. the number one asset that our military has is strategic mobility. when you take it away by setting a military-backed, be it iraq or afghanistan, you take away your number one advantage. mobility. making your military a target. not to tell you that there are not that many roads to come out of these forward operating basis. when you think about the number one goals, the enemy must be clearly defined. who they are, and presenting as
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willing to strike capability. you are contending with an enemy that has no regard for borders are boundaries, things of that nature. taking the fight to this enemy, taking the fight away from him. instead of playing this game of lacrimal. -- whack a mole. we go out, we fight them there, they move over to another base, we fight them there. when you understand what alexander did in afghanistan, splitting it up into smaller detachments, they got out and took the sanctuary away from the enemy. be exact same thing we did in vietnam. when we got out into the countryside we denied the viet
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cong what they needed. when we pulled back, we ought wired them -- wired it -- we got wired down and they went into the countryside. we stayed out there and denied this guy his sanctuary. that is the mentality that we have to have. the next and that is clear in strategic objectives is that we must cut off this flow of manned material and resources right now. the pressure translates over to yemen and afghanistan. we must be able to follow them. we have to interdict the flow of resources. that is how you drive up his ability to fund himself. to resupply himself.
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also, to replenish his ranks. yet we have not been able to connect the dots and understand that. we have a relationship building between somali pirates and an operation happening in yemen. not far across the waterways. that is the second most important thing. the third, from a strategic perspective, as we must win the information operations war. we never do a good job with that. they are killing us on these terrorists websites. they are getting their message out. i remember that flotilla in israel. i told my wife, those guys have paint on their back. she asked -- how can you tell? i said that i could see the skinny silhouette. they turned israel around. we have got to do a better job
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in terms of beating them with the message. we have got to do a better job with our psychological operations units. in afghanistan one of the simple things that i asked was why we were about establishing radio stations -- why we were not establishing radio stations on these bases? talk about the things that the taliban is doing. so that you can turn people. if we do not understand that at the strategic level -- and part of that is our own media. i see most stories about us doing things, how many pictures that we see of of the ghraib -- abu ghraib? last week we lost 14 soldiers in
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afghanistan. how many here, -- want to talk about that anymore. when the media sees themselves as an ideological political weight, i have serious concerns about that. , theof the nation's power diplomatic and informational, along with the economic. if we cannot take our own informational power to use, we will lose as a country. the los strategic objective that we have to have is we have to cordon off this enemy and reduce the sphere of influence. we have to shrink down where he is. and we are not to invent. we are allowing them to come into the united states of america. anyone that wants to deny that it was a part of the 21st century battlefield, you have got your head in the sand.
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unfortunately, when you do that you expose a certain part of your anatomy. that is what we are doing a lot in this country. we are turning a blind eye to a very bold enemy that is telling us exactly what he wants to do. but it is up to us and elected leaders, our strategic level military officials, to come up with the right kind of strategic military perspectives to combat against them. it is not a war in afghanistan. it is not a war in iraq. those are combat theater -- combat theaters of operation. that is the second tier of warfare. up here is a strategically where we have missed out on goals and objectives. the next thing that i want to talk to you about is very simple. we have to understand the
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economic impacts on these 21st century battlefields. look at what happened during the collapse of the soviet union. they did not collapse under military. they collapse economically. one country paid really close attention to what happened. that country was china. we find ourselves on this 21st century battlefield. there are kinetic battles that we are fighting and there are truly non-connecticut battles we are fighting. and we are providing an advantage to china with the trade surplus they're able to build up. the thing to realize is that china is not taking that to improve the standard of living of the chinese citizens. they have taken this economic advantage on the battlefield and in eight years to 10 years they will -- the world's largest
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economy is going to fly under a chinese flag. why is that important? 70% of the mass of the earth is wet. is water. go back to all of the great civilizations. at the turn of the century, the portuguese, the spanish, dutch, the english, the japanese, everyone knew that the means by which you extend the power and the reach of a nation -- it will hurt saying this -- [laughter] is not through a great army, it is through a powerful navy. in 1908 -- 1990 we had 546 naval board vessels. today we had -- we have 283. if you cannot protect the sea lanes of commerce, if you have americans murdered right under
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the shadow of their vessel, it bodes future problems for our country. it is very important for us in terms of economic impact. the world's busiest cruise port terminal. $98 billion in revenue. it is very important, in 2014 the panama canal will expand. the panama canal must not be controlled by chinese contractors. that is how, if you do not have a strategic perspective on the 21st century satterfield, you might find yourself militarily defeated, but also economically defeated. another part that is so important on this battlefield is energy independence. i remember being back in georgia in the late 1970's when we had these oil embargo crisis things. remember when you had that even
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days, the odd days? my dad was not going to sit by and the lincoln continental. he told his son to go do it. [laughter] i have a distinct understanding of what energy and appended should mean. [laughter] we created a government agency that had one mission. to make the united states of america energy independent. if we do not recognize the fact that there are certain countries using these resources as a weapon on this battlefield -- you see, when russia went down and invaded georgia, there was not a lot of contention coming out of europe because of the natural gas pipeline. if we do not understand what they are able to hold over russ, you just heard what you go chavez said last week. if there is a time that we should look at the united states
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of america and say that we should commit ourselves to being energy independent, the time is now. i get tired of hearing people say that it will take too long. read the story of the uss yorktown. so severely damaged that it limped back into pearl harbor. the battle damage assessments were going to take six to seven months for the uss george town to be prepared. and it was challenged. sailors, contractors, the yorktown streamed out in three weeks. along with the rest of that pacific fleet, they met at a place called midway. the rest is history. the american people will respond to a challenge. they will respond if they have strategic vision. that is what we are lacking in our country right now. i do not want to see us suffer
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because we cannot understand the current battlefield. we have to get ourselves off of the dependency of foreign oil. we have gas, nuclear facilities, coal, wind, the complete development of the full spectrum of these resources will enable us to be successful. if we do not do that, if we keep kicking the can down the road, we will be putting our country in a very bad situation. so, what are the solutions? we have to develop a national security program. we have to seriously start looking and thinking about what the world is going to look like. we did not do that after the collapse of the soviet union. basically after that collapse we said that the major ideological
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fights in the world were over. we failed to read the classics civilization remaking of the world order. who became the bill payer? the united states military. i can tell you that because i was serving at the time when my friends, who were in tank units, had to use golf carts to practice tactics. i can tell you as an executive officer when we did not have enough money to buy tools to repair our houses or have enough money for a toilet paper for our houses. we did not have enough money for ammunition so that guys could stay on the rifle range. we find ourselves going down that same path. when you study the history of the u.s. military through today, you see this -- we got ready for world war i and we went into a bottomless pit.
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that we wrap it up for world war ii and we went back into a bottomless pit. if we do not have a steady state with a plus or minus, we will lose the opportunity to protect the america of the future for our children and grandchildren. we need to look at this road map by saying -- what are the prospective brigid prospective areas of operation? areas of responsibilities? matching capability to the threat. that is not what we have done. we always look at the military in terms of saying -- ok, this war has ended, so we can go to the bottomless pit. if we miss that opportunity to recognize what that battlefield is, to have that laying down of this entire world in to threats that we can see,
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[unintelligible] as they say down south. we may not be able to recover. that is what we must do. that is why i have to tell you, standing here in this great think-tank, the work they have been able to do here is phenomenal. we have got to roll up our sleeves, come up with a road map, looking at the threat that examines their goals and objectives. to know your enemy and yourself, as well as the environment and countless battles, you will -- you will always be victorious. if we do not understand that simple maxim -- and it could be some dark days. not just for the united states of america, but for the entire world. no matter what anyone says, we
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are that we can at white house. the shining city on the hill. if that light goes out it will take us into a new dark age. thank you for having me today. god bless you all. [applause] >> fenty, congressman. i have to say, before i begin throwing these questions that you, your focus on the need for strategic clarity is so welcome in this town. i think that we have a pretty hard deadline here. i have all of these questions. [laughter] beyond terrorism, what is the
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greatest for a military challenge facing the united states? >> we have to be very concerned about what china is doing. china is already going into some security agreements and arrangements with pakistan. talking about selling them fighter aircraft as well as building the main naval base facility. look across the world, the chinese flag flies in many places. going after energy and raw materials. they are a conventional threat to the united states. >> thank you. what impact do you think that the death of osama bin laden will have on the war on terror? >> one of the things that i got upset with, a lot of people in washington, d.c., said the to cut the head of the snake.
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a lack of understanding. all that you did was cut the head of of a multi-headed hydra. often this hydra can be generated sound head. 10 days later they had named a successor. all of these networks must now show they are still relevant. they are still viable. they must do something that continues to inspire young men to want to join their ranks to show that they can defeat the great satan. once again it is not about dancing in the end zone. i am happy that we got it, but we have to look and say -- what happens next? of what happens in the next phase of this operation? >> pakistan, one of the difficult issues of foreign policy. want to comment on your views? >> i was one of the first ones
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to come out and say that we need to cut off funding to pakistan. look, i spent two years in canada hard. every time we put pressure on the taliban, they went to pakistan. by the they are welcome, or i do not know. the president of pakistan made a call to hamid karzai and ask him to go into a long-term security arrangement with pakistan and china. that is not an ally. the fact that they're looking to get aircraft from china, that is not an ally. china is going to build them a naval base. that is not an ally. this incident with osama bin laden comes down to three things, ignorance, incompetence, or complicity.
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any of those things are bad. the sum of all of those things is really bad. people understand one thing. strength. they do not understand compromise or negotiations. if we continue to have a policy of appeasement without putting pressure on them, without cutting them off -- we do not need pakistan to be successful. they are going to play us like a bad fatal unless we tell them we do not need them. >> our military is in the middle of considerable social experimentation. what efforts should be taken to make sure that force effectiveness is sustained? >> let me put it simply. the united states military exists to win the nation's wars.
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when you join the military, it takes individual behavior and conforms it to the military. if we start to have a perspective of belief in this nation that the military conforms to individual behavior, we have lost the understanding of what it means to be in the united states military. rules are very clear in the united states military. if you do not want to abide by the rules, do not join. for those that say that covers the west, you should understand, after all, you are black -- unless i am michael jackson, i cannot change my color. but people can change behavior. you do not base being in the military by adjusting to individual behavior. would you look at what our young men and women have to contend with, men and women in their
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fifth and sixth to worst, now is not the time to try to appease a very small special-interest group. i will leave it at that. >> if there are individual activities involved, the typical culture is that the individual gives way. in the service if you wanted to write a letter to the newspaper attacking the politics of the commander-in-chief, you could not do that. you could do it in civilian life. a couple of questions about funding. why should we increase or sustain funding in these times? questions a pay cut and compensation. may be addressed the whole thing.
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>> i was up here doing orientation. in november of last year i had an interview on meet the press. david gregory thought he could catch me in a trick. he asked me if i would support cuts in spending. i said absolutely. as i stand here today i have found three wasteful government programs that add up to $800 million over 10 years. that should be the focus. cutting the benefits that we give to our coast guard, soldiers, sailors, that is not the way to go. we should look at every single way to increase the benefits that we get from them. you can cut my pay, but do not cut the pay of the men and women that protect us. the number one responsibility of the federal government. the federal government can
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create a military that is as prosperous as you want, but if the military cannot keep you safe on this new military battlefield, making sure that americans can go anywhere in the world without feeling threatened or insecure, we have lost our mission. there should not be any possibility of americans going out on their own private yacht to have to worry about being kidnapped, hijacked. executed. that is reprehensible to me and the message that we need to said is that we will not tolerate that. we need to develop a military that has that type of focus, showing their interests lie, the two are saved and protected. >> you are talking about naval power. for a career army guy --
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>> i would say that right now the army has more amphibious landings than anyone else. it is a joy of service and we must have -- we must understand how to complement each other. we can take those savings and reinvest into procurement, military development. i had a great discussion with a friend of mine for 13 years. as soldiers and leaders look at the types of things we need on the battlefield, it does not have to get into the long, drawn-out procurement process. boosting the economy and getting people back to work. when you think about what we
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have to manufacture and produce, that is what we have to get back to. i think that we can reinvest those things so that the department of defense can be more effective and efficient. yes, how do we project that power over the horizon? also, how do we go back to forceable injury forces? we still need to maintain a strong, armored warfare type of force. a national security roadmap. when you sit down and look at the areas of responsibility, they understand what is needed to be successful. -- oneu're in combat,
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here in combat, two years out. that is a rested and vigilant force. >> i was in your position when they cut the size of the army. early in the 1990's they said they would never have to put a lot of boots on the ground, the reason these guys are doing so many tours of duty. did a couple of specific threats and concerns and one wrapup question. hasn't he been great? [applause] senators over here, u.s. one question? it takes 20 minutes. [laughter] do you care to all for your opinion on the egyptian events in the meaning for the united states? >> and other people are talking about the arab spring.
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-- a lot of people are talking about the arab spring. i like iris spring, so. [laughter] you do not know who is going to fill the vacuum of leadership in countries like egypt. when the shah of iran was deposed, who did you get? the ayatollah. in the aftermath of the stepping down oppose the mubarak, i will look at the things that happen. the fact that iranian warships have been moving through the suez canal for the first time in 40 years. the border has opened up. there have been an increased amount of rockets and missile attacks coming out of southern israel. you have had a senior egyptian military official traveling and having discussions with syria. you have the egyptian foreign minister having a meeting with
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the iranian foreign ministry. christians are now fighting to save their churches in egypt. i look at the fact that there are rumblings coming out of egypt that the camp david peace accords are null and void. for every decision there are consequences. sometimes we have to analyze those consequences. i do not know the goals are objectives. these rebel leaders, what did they seek to have? what did they bring for to the table that is different from muammar gaddafi? there are means by which he can be contained, rather than committing the air force and the navy to be rent-a-forced to them. the story has not been told yet.
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i will never forget, the most organized political organization in egypt is the muslim brotherhood. through today from the 1920's, you can see their history. people that do not get caught up in the sound bite are what we need. people that look at the facts with strategic clarity. if such a desire to say well, this is a great, democratic uprising -- i do not see a george washington out -- over there. i do not see thomas jefferson or madison, women getting any type of freedoms. that is my concern. >> so, we experienced the irony of the goal and mission in
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libya. ending the weapons of mass destruction, have we been appeasing the dictatorship in iran, who is aggressively trying to get these weapons? my editorial comments. two additional questions. would you care to comment on the state opposed relations with israel? >> to return to the pre-1967 borders was a horrible thing to say. they are our staunchest ally in the middle east. to this day we have not seen it willing peace partner in the middle east. if the palestinians would lay down their weapons, there would be peace. if the israelis lay down their weapons, there would be a
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massacre. if you are pavlovian, you will just get more bad behavior. the thing that they will understand is that you will stand up for something. if you are not coming to the table saying that you want peace so bad, you are giving them the initiative. think about at. you give up something, lebanon, you get rockets. israel responded to being attacked. now we will tell them to go back to a situation where the to once again be attacked? my concern is this -- israel could potentially fight a three fight more with an egyptian- supported hamas, syrian support hezbollah, and iran with its
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leader in southern lebanon facing toward israel saying there for the elimination of the zionist state. how much more do we need to be convinced? in my opinion, it will take a cataclysmic event. how many people understand the math of mutually assured destruction? it does not exist with iran the same way it did with the soviet union. they need to have a cataclysmic event to bring back the hidden in mom. that is the whole reason the have a nuclear device. i do not care how much land you give up. it is still about the elimination of the jewish people. the fact is that hamas and fatah clearly stated in their charter the elimination of the q
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a state and those people. that is how you start talking about peace. you eradicate or eliminate hamas. that is my story and i am sticking to it. [applause] >> i know that you have a lot of friends here interested in the potential prospects the to have for the future. i will just put it that way. [applause] >> i have heard that potentially there is a position open for national dogcatcher. [laughter] look, the most important thing is that the founding fathers were brilliant in how they established the united states of america in the federal government. being a congressional representative is very important. it is important to have strong
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voices there. you need to be a capable legislator and learn all of the rules over there. understand this, that, what ever. in georgia, this stuff can be crazy. but that is what my focus is. running for reelection in the u.s. congress. i submit myself to the will of god. in 2007 i was in afghanistan. four years later, i am standing here. a great country. an incredible country where anyone has the opportunity to go as far as they want to in this great nation. i am happy as a congressional representative.
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for right now, let me be that for which the people have worked hard to get me to. there u.s. congressman. thank you so much. [applause] >> thank you, alan. we have had a number of speakers over the last several years, but none more eloquent on behalf of strategic clarity and american defensive interests. thank you very much. we are dismissed. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011]
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[inaudible] >> you talk about the dangers of occupational warfare and nation- building. what do you think should be the
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u.s. position with respect to the war in afghanistan, should be plowed ground troops? >> look at the bases you have established that will become a rotating basis. the most important thing is that when we get into a bolder scheme of the nation's bill in the schools, taking the soldiers and marines away, there is a point at which the conditions that we want to try to achieve in these theaters of operation, i do not like time phrase operations on
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stakes. i think that that is telegraphing to an enemy. >> congressman, briefly you touched on the air force. what are those events? how do you break it down? >> we work with armed services staff. i have told them to go out there and look for places where they can make cuts. when i was a young staff boss in the military, i hated power point hearings. we looked at another program that was a research program that was not possible. over the course of 10 years this have saved the american taxpayer $800 million.
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>> i just wanted you to elaborate on the situation in the talks with the taliban reconciliation. what do you make of that whole process? >> we tried that with the clinton administration and look at how far it got us. the most dangerous thing out there is our own political correctness and and ability to understand who the adversary is. a great example is when -- we have kicked around this term, radical islam, and the prime minister turkey says there is
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not such a thing. if you do not start taking the enemy for who they are, you cannot have a reconciliation with an individual whose vision is totally different and not in concert with 21st century morals and values. you cannot sit down and negotiate with groups like the taliban. that is the number one thing that will cause people not to believe in the united states of america. if i m a tribal leader in afghanistan, if i know that you are about to leave, we must not forget. >> are there any other programs you are looking at in the
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future? >> this is a revolving process. not just an opening salvo where you quit. i want to make sure that we streamline it and get a focus on core functions and emissions. >> they want to know your thoughts on the nomination of general martin dempsey as the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff. >> i have met general dempsey before. of course, i have had discussions with people over the weekend to have known him. he is a soldier's soldier. now that we have taken someone away from the army and of being an operational commander and
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adviser to the president, helping the president to make the right type of decisions based on the council received from the respected service chiefs. i look forward to the general continuing his lifelong career of service and i have to tell you that i am glad that the army is the chairman of the joint chiefs. >> [inaudible] >> you talk about beating the enemy in the information war. could you give examples of the messaging that the united states should put out? >> once again, combat theaters of operation in iraq and afghanistan, we do not talk about success. we do not talk enough about the fact that you have a thriving and vibrant economy in the kurdish area. with international flights and things of that nature.
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those are the kinds of things we have to discuss. i was in afghanistan countless times. they were throwing acid on the liberals for going to school. we have to show them where they are and not allow them to dominate the dialogue. those are the types of things that i think we need to do a better job that, showing the good news stories happening in these theaters of operation. >> [inaudible] >> fenty for having me. >> [inaudible] >> thank you for the camera.
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>> sunday and newsmakers, a ranking democrat on the house ways and means committee talks about how open u.s. that and other economic issues will be addressed. monday on c-span, the road to the white house coverage continues with former senator rick santorum as he makes his official presidential announcement. live at 11:00 p.m. eastern here on c-span. >> haley barbour told a congressional panel earlier this week that bp was more responsive than the federal government when responding to requests from state officials in the aftermath of the gulf oil spill. these remarks came before a house oversight committee in a bowl. you will hear from the governor and the head of the period with
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a 3 elrich 20 minute hearing. committee will come to order. the oversight committee exists to secure two fundamental principles. first, americans have a right to know that the takes from them is well spent. and, second, americans deserve an efficient, effective government that works for them. our duty on the oversight and government reform committee is to protect these rights. our solemn respondent is to -- responsibility is to hold government accountable to taxpayers, because taxpayers have a right the know what they get from their government. we work tirelessly in partnership with citizen
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watchdogs to deliver facts to the american people and bring genuine reform to the federal bureaucracy. this is our mission. this morning we will review the enormous task confronted in the gulf as a result of the bp oil spill and the obama administration's choices made then and to this day. it is clear that this was a manmade disaster, that 11 people died in what should not have happened. but it's the choices after an initial event that we will focus on today. that is not to take away bp's ultimate responsibility. but this committee reviews government actions both prospectively and retrospectively. we cannot expect to do a better job next time if we do not focus
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on what was done right and what was done wrong in this disaster. the government made several decisions under its authority. one of them was not to use stafford act. and, in fact, to leave the very entity that created this pollution in a position of authority and lead. there are many reasons this may have happened, but we have to ask; should it happen again? congress has the clear power and authority to change the rules of the road. we should not have to choose between holding a polluter responsible and 'em pouring -- empowering leaders at the federal, state and local level to do what they are responsible to do on behalf of their citizens. the reimbursement for actions directly and indirectly belongs to british petroleum.
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they have said they will meet that challenge, and we will hold them to it. but as the days and weeks went on after an initial spill 40 some miles out at sea, it became obvious that we lacked the resources in place to do the job that was coming. the response was slow and chaotic. additionally, we will hear from testimony today that the secondary damage turned out to be, in many cases, far worse than the little or no oil that came to the shores of communities: that is part of what we have to deal with here today. oil spills and other events are inevitable. in my hometown of cleveland, more than 60 years ago a liquefied natural gas container went bad, and many died. it has not stopped us from resourcing and using natural gas
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here in america. three mile island is still in the memory of people my age. it has not stopped us from using nuclear fuel as a primary source for baseload. coal miners, to our dismay, continue to die trying to harvest that fuel around the world. it is a necessary part of our society that dangerous jobs are done by people who choose to do them and have a right to be protected in thats process. in that process. but this hearing is not about the riskiness of any of these fuel sources. it is, in fact, about whether the federal government knows better time than they did before this event. additionally, it is important for us to understand that just as hurricane katrina told us that fema had problems working with states, fema was not
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necessarily ready for a loss of vast areas of response. we now know that even when all the response capabilities were in place, even when it was a single event of a company that did not do their job and did not play properly by the rules, we find secondary events throughout the area. we find oil coming ashore and not being responded to for a number of reasons. we additionally find a loss of revenue in unrelated areas. we will hear from our second panel and from our first that the loss of tourism was needless and extreme in areas in which the water was clean, the shore was pristine and, in fact, people were scared away. we need to make sure that does not happen again, we need to make sure that governors and local officials are empowered to do what is in the best interest of their people, and that the american people get a fair
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understanding of the scope of any problem or spill. lastly, we will hear today that as a result of one reckless action we find countless billions of dollars of revenue lost. good hard working meshes out of -- americans out of work. resources necessary to make us less oil reliant on countries that often are not friendly to us leaving to the very countries that, in fact, will now produce the oil that we are forced to buy. in america today both sides of the aisle talk about jobs. i, for one, am not an economist, but i can understand that if $400 billion worth of purchased oil were produced here in america, there would be countless millions of direct and indirect jobs available to americans. there are many things that we are not competitive on here in america. certainly, one we are competitive on is natural
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resource extraction from our coastal waters and onshore locations. i look forward to hearing from my old friend and the considerably well known figure to all of us, governor barbour, and with that, i recognize the gentleman from maryland for his opening statement. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman, and good morning. let me first welcome governor barbour, and i thank you very much for being with us today. i also want to take a moment to recognize dick gregory who is a person who has fought hard for so many people for so long in our audience. thank you, mr. gregory, for being a part of this hearing today. governor barbour, your state has been through a tremendous amount of difficulty, and i sincerely look forward to your testimony. let me also welcome michael bromwich from the department of interior. mr. bromwich, you agreed to be here with incredibly short
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notice, so we thank you very much for your testimony and for your expertise. finally, let me welcome the residents of the gulf who have traveled here today to share their views with the committee. earlier this year the national commission on the bp deepwater horizon oil spill issued a comprehensive report on the causes of the spill. the report found that this disaster was avoidable and that it resulted from clear mistakes made in the first instance by bp, halliburton and transocean. and by government officials. these were extremely difficult lessons to learn. now, more than a year later, officials in both the oil industry and our government appear to be heeding these lessons and retooling the way they do business. first, we must never, ever forget that 11 individuals lost their lives in an explosion on april 20th. to address deficiencies that
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contributed to these deaths, the interior department issued an improved workplace safety rule that many, including industry, believe will significantly enhance worker safety. the department also completely reorganized the minerals management service. mms had been criticized because it oversaw the safety of drilling, the environmental impacts caused by drilling, and the revenue generated from drilling. according to the national commission, mms had a built-in incentive to promote offshore drilling in sharp tension with its mandate to insure safe drilling and environmental protection. the department also implemented a number of critical safety measures to insure that a blowout like this would never happen again. for example, a new drilling safety rule would strengthen standard for well control procedures. drilling equipment and well design, and it required independent and third party
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inspections. finally, the department issued a notice to lease sees to require oil companies to demonstrate they can actually cap a well, they can actually cap a well and handle a deepwater blowout before any new drilling permits were issued. these were responsible steps taken after it became clear to the nation, after 87 days that bp simply did not have the technology available, in other words, the technology was far outdistancing our ability to control it. mr. chairman, i have to say that i am disappointed by your actions today. you stated that the committee investigations -- investigates have interviewed more than 50 government officials, scores of residents, business owners and whistleblowers as part of this investigation. that is news to everyone on this side of the aisle because you completely excluded us from that effort. and you have not explained why.
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unfortunately, this is the definition of partisanship, and it undermines the integrity of this committee. and by the way, this report that's being submitted this morning was submitted to the press before we even saw it. nevertheless, moving forward, it is our obligation as members of the united states congress to develop constructive ways to help people in the gulf rebuild their lives and their livelihoods. in my former capacity as chairman of the subcommittee on coast guard and marry time transportation, i visited the gulf twice while oil was flowing. i saw how the spill affected small businesses that rely on tourism, fishing and other industries. i've offered several measures to provide real solutions to gulf residents. last congress i offer add provision that cut in half from 90 days to 45 days the amount of time responsible parties had to settle claims arising from the spill. i also worked on provisions with chairman overstar to strengthen
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the coast guard's oversight of oil spill response plans. this year, just recently, i offered an amendment to h.r. swz 1229 to require all oil and gas exploration and production activities in the gulf to be conducted by u.s. flag vessels. talking about jobs, that's jobs. this, which would have immediately stimulated the gulf economy. unfortunately, the rules committee did not allow a vote on my amendment. my basic point is this: we have a tremendous opportunity in this committee to really help people, people who are undergone extreme hardship. as the goal of today's hearing, if we can focus on identifying even one positive, proactive solution that we can agree on, i think the hearing will be a success. >> i thank you. i ask for one minute to respond. without objection. to my ranking member, just for your edification, this
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investigation began under your predecessor, chairman towns. we went down jointly and separately. he authorized minority trips when i was in the minority, in addition to the joint trips we did including members of both parties. when i took the chair, we continued that investigation. we have had joint trips in addition to we have authorized minority trips down there. as a matter of fact, we've never turned down a request by the minority to go on staff fact-finding. every request that's been asked for has been granted. it is true that both your side and my side under both the majority and minority have gone both together and independently, but i certainly think that i don't, i will not belittle any effort that your side made to get independent facts. i hope you were not intending to do so by saying you were surprised we'd made 50 trips when some of them were made together. >> mr. chairman, may i have a minute? >> of course.
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>> let me say this, mr., actually, from the very beginning my number one concern is helping the american people. and it is about the integrity of this committee. i do not belittle for one second the findings and the things that the majority has done. what i'm saying is that we want to be a true partner in all of that. i have said to you privately and openly that we, too, care about government operating prop beerily. we -- properly. we, too, care about making sure that every agency of government does what it is supposed to do. we, too, want to make sure there's no agency caught up in a culture of mediocrity. so i look forward going forward, like i said, want to move on, but i want to make it clear that we, too, are partners. we, too, were elected per district, so we want to make sure our voices are heard too.
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>> i thank the gentleman. with that, we are prepared to introduce our first panel. i'm going to deny myself the honor of introducing governor barbour and instead go to congressman steven blaz sew, for his introduction of his governor. and i understand your governor when you were in the statehouse. the gentleman is recognized for an introduction. >> good morning. thank you, chairman issa, ranking member couple us and members for the privilege of letting me introduce his leadership firsthand after the devastation of hurricane katrina and more recently the deepwater horizon oil spill. indeed, no other governor has been as frequently challenged to rise to the occasion of leading a state during a time of crisis, whether manmade or natural. and each time governor barbour shouldered the burden in a manner that calmed tempers and resulted in credible, efficient
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outcomes. to accomplish this, he met each event with a balanced regimen of compassion and order, allaying fears and the sense of loss with hope and the prospect of swift recovery. i vividly remember the many times the governor and his beautiful wife marsha walked hand in hand with the victims in the aftermath of it all, assured them that everything was going to be all right. more recently, he continues to guide our state through historical floods and a severe tornado season. he has not only led mississippi through the country's worst natural manmade disaster, but he challenged us to build back bigger and better. he is a great leader in every sense of the word, and of course i'm talking about mississippi's 63rd governor, haley barbour. mr. chairman, as someone who represents a district devastated by the oil spill, i appreciate you directing the committee to assess the recovery efforts of bp and the obama administration. i would like to briefly mention that as someone who has worked offshore on drilling platforms,
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i have a particular concern on how the administration came to the decision to institute a moratorium without conducting a study of how it will impact the gulf coast economy. we know now that this thoughtless decision would decleese oil production for the next two years. a loss of production of this magnitude will continue to have a negative impact on the gulf coast economy for years to come. studies conducted by louisiana state university put potential estimated job loss by the moratorium and subsequent perm tore yum on the gulf coast region at around 24,000. the ripple effect of these lost jobs and high energy prices hurts our national economy. the majority of the jobs lost in mississippi are from the fourth congressional district of mississippi, the district i represent. i've worked offshore, i know the value of the jobs that the offshore drilling industry provides. i look forward into further investigation into the economic impact of the administration's decisions and motivations.
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i applaud the committee for the extensive work on this critical issue, and i look forward to hearing the testimony by the witnesses and the outcome of this important hearing. and thank you again, chairman issa, and the members for allowing me the honor of introducing governor haley barbour. i yield back. >> i thank the gentleman. pursuant to the rules of the committee, governor, would you rise to take the oath? governor, do you solemnly swear or affirm that the testimony you're about to give will be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth? >> i do. >> let the record reflect that the governor answer inside the affirmative. governor, you know this routine, you've seen it for years. your entire statement will be placed in the record. we will not hold you to an exact five minutes, but come as close as you can. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> gentleman's recognized. >> and to the ranking member and all the members of the committee, thank you very much for having me here. i am going to not read my statement. let me start off by saying that
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this disaster is very different from other disasters. when representative palazzo talks about katrina, we had obliteration, it looked like the hand of god had just wiped away the gulf coast for blocks, and in some places for miles. we had hurricane-force winds 40 miles inland. and to get people to where they got confident that the coast was going to come back, where they had hope for their families and their communities, where they were willing to return home was an enormous part of the job. in this case, keeping people calm. you know, you had an oil well blow out 100-plus miles away from be our coast. and i should say at this point this experience for us was a little different than for louisiana. louisiana was closer to the
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well, they got wet, brown oil into some of their areas. we didn't. we were about 108 miles from the well head to the city of gulfport, and by the time oil got to us, a, it had been a long time since the well blew out; b, what got to us you would not recognize as oil. there was this orange mixture of water and the remnant of oil that the oil people call mousse. and then there were what we call tarballs and tar patties. when i was a kid, we used to go to the beach, we used to throw 'em at each other, tarballs, because the gulf of mexico seeps out somewhere as much as a million, 400,000 barrels a year according to the usgis every year through the floor.
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so, you know, we were used to tarballs. but when this happened, people were, obviously, very, very concerned. and one of the big jobs was to keep people calm, to keep people, understand that we're going to prepare, we're going to have a good plan, we're going to execute the plan, we're going to protect the coast, particularly the habitat, particularly the coastal lands where the shrimp and other important wildlife actually are born and start to grow. and we had to do that with a different set of rules. and the first point i want to make is the stafford act. the decision was made that this disaster would be managed under the oil pollution act. not the stafford act. as has been said to the committee by others, the disadvantage of that for us is we're used to the stafford act.
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florida, alabama, mississippi, louisiana, texas, we've managed disasters under the stafford act because that's what hurricanes are managed under. that's what tornadoes are managed under. that's what floods like we have in mississippi today. so, a, it was a, it was something we knew. but very important from a governor's point of view, the stafford act expressly says that the federal government will supplement the work of the state, not supplant it. one of the problems we had under the oil pollution act early on, lasted for several weeks, the coast guard who headed unified command -- and we're accustomed to unified command, we have unified command under stafford act disasters -- they took the position that the national guard worked for them. and this became a real issue, which i'll talk about in a minute. but under the stafford act it's
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very clear, the national guard works for the governor unless the president federalizes the national guard. we're not mad at anybody about it, but it didn't work well when they tried to assume command over the national guard. and i should say president bush after katrina talked about federalizing the response. and i very loudly and publicly said, no, that we don't want the army coming into mississippi or the marines coming into mississippi. they're not trained for that, they don't know the terrain, they don't know the people. so stafford act, whether -- and the stafford act, by the way, has a lot of improvement that it needs. but the oil pollution act ought to be changed to say flatly, like the stafford act, it's supplemental to the states, and it doesn't usurp the state's authority. where this came into play was in
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our plan to defend the state's shoreline against oil. we developed a layered defense plan beginning outside the barrier islands, using the barrier islands to protect us, protecting the gaps between the barrier islands. the oil that got through to the sound, that would be our principle place to try to pick it up, steer it toward beaches, keep it out of marshlands. as it turned out, the coast guard approved that plan, never understood how to execute it. and after the second time that oil got to our barrier islands completely undetected, much less contested. undetected. we demanded that we be put in charge of this. and the coast guard agreed, and we worked out a system that worked. i will just tell you, before that there was no command and control. in fact, unified command could not even speak to the hundreds of vessels of opportunity that
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we had gotten bp to hire to form picket lines to spot the oil as far out where we could try to steer it and collect it. they didn't have any means of talking to 'em. so we had to step that up to get command and control as it should be. two other points i want to make. and i'll be glad to -- i'm trying not to get into too much detail. for us this turned out to be primarily an economic disaster. now, it may be that there is something lurking beneath the sea or that is going to develop that becomes ecologically dangerous. and we're all over that. and not just mississippi, all the states, the federal government, all kind of scientists. but thus far the environmental damage for us, again, we're different from louisiana, has been very manageable.
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we have on the coastline of mississippi we have 80 miles of coastline. we never closed one mile of beach except for one time in the whole experience. we had one 2-mile section of beach that we closed overnight because we had a high tide after a hurricane where some oil got across the highway, and we couldn't clean it all up. otherwise we cleaned up the oil that got to the beaches every day the day it got there. so our environmental damage -- unless there is something to come -- is not our issue. our issue is a gigantic economic loss. the talked about tourism. our tourism industry was clobbered. our season starts when our schools get out which are earlier than in the north. our schools get out the middle of may. so that's when the tourist season starts.
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of course, this happened late april. so people saw on tv the same brown pelican coated with looked like 3 inches of oil, i mean, looked like a chocolate pelican. and they showed it every hour, every day, 24 hours a day for weeks and weeks and weeks. and the news media, particularly 24-hour cable tv, gave citizens the impression the whole gulf coast was coated in oil. people deduced from that that it was unsafe, unpleasant, don't want to go there. they canceled their reservations, they canceled their contracts to buy condominium and not just in mississippi, but all across the gulf coast. the president, to his credit, actually it got so bad that the president came to mississippi, alabama and florida and held news conferences on the beach to say, look, the beaches are clean, the water is clear, it's beautiful down here, come on down here. but that one news day can't compete with what was being seen
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every day, every hour for weeks. huge economic problem and loss there. and then, of course, in the fishing side on seafood, huge losses because they closed our waters. and i should say to you right now we have not, since this oil spill, had one sample of seafood in mississippi waters that was tested that had not passed the test and meet every standard. the same is true for the federal government. finish we haven't had one, one sample of seafood that failed, yet we have people that won't buy seafood from the gulf coast in new york and san francisco, in chicago because of what they saw on television. so the fishermen have some mitigation of their losses because they got hired to be vessels of opportunity. the processers were slammed. so seafood, a huge problem. the oil and gas industry, the
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moratorium for which there was no reason, in fact, the government appointed a panel to look at this, and the panel disagreed with the announcement that was made that you got the impression it was the panel's recommendation to have a moratorium. .. yet, in the last year, the number of permits for new, deep
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water drilling has decreased 85%, and that is a huge problem. let me close by saying this. for those of you that want to help the states that were hurt, understanding that this was an economic problem for us, and, again, louisiana is a little different than the rest of us -- this was an economic problem. remember, the damage assessments and the payments that can be made under that are largely limited to environmental. while mr. is some loss of use room there, largely, the states cannot be compensated from their economic loss except getting part of the civil fines that will be assessed against bp and the responsible parties. if i would ask you, as members of congress, looking at this,
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and understanding that this is the best way to help the states recover, because it is economic recovery that they have to get unless something really changes on the environment. i apologize. i went over, mr. chairman. >> no apology required. i now ask unanimous consent that the staff report entitled "the bp oil spill recovery effort, the legacy of choices made by the obama administration cocoa beach entered into the record. without objection, so ordered. i would also note for the minority that after the break, it is my intention to have a committee vote to make this a committee report. so, during the intervening period, if the minority has comments, questions, anything to add, the final report will reflect the minority, so that
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is, in fact, a bipartisan report. >> the gentleman is recognized current >> it is my understanding that according to the committee rules, we have three days before a committee vote. >> that is correct. i am giving you more than 10 days' notice. >> i thought you said today. >> no. what i am doing, is i asked and got permission to enter this into the record as a staff report. i am going to elevate it to a committee report after the minority has entered their comments, and adjustments are made. right now, it is the basis for a committee report. the intention is to make sure that your staff has been working on the same set of facts, edit, make changes, suggest changes, and make other comments, so it becomes part of the joint report.
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>>, so when will that vote be? >> it will be after the break, at the earliest. >> i misunderstood you. >> i am just noticing you for the future. >> all right. very well. >> with that, i would like to recognize mr. burton, from indiana. >> welcome, governor barbour. it is good to see you again. it looks at you have elected a good-looking, articulate young man. congratulations. >> it will not take him long to get gray hairs. >> that will come in time. first of all, let me say i have been to the gulf coast, not mississippi, i have walked on the beaches down there, and also on beaches, i believe, on the
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east coast of florida, and i saw these tar balls. when you said that 1.4 million barrels of oil leaked out naturally each year, i hope everybody in the country knows that. you also said there has been an 85% loss in drilling permits. that is tragic, especially in light of the fact that we have just sent two billion dollars down to brazil so they could to keep -- drilling in deep water, and we cannot. that surprised me. i think you said there were 31,000 wells in the last 50 years down there, and has been drilled without any real, big problems. yet, right now, this administration is stopping us from drilling here, and we are selling -- sending billions and billions of dollars over to the middle east, to countries that
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do not like us very much. i hope you are able, in effect, to go on a crusade to tell the story you have told us today. i think the american people need to know that. we have the ability to move rapidly toward energy independence, and we are not doing any of that, and as a result, this country is really suffering. i really sympathize with you on the fiscal impact that took place down there, in the gulf, and during the terrible crisis, and i want to say one more thing about the media. i really sympathize with you over this drum beat that went on and on over a month, or two months, that show the problems that were going on down there, which obviously had a devastating impact on you and your economy. i hope that in the future, when
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these kinds of tragedies happen, the media will not sensationalize it to the degree that it hurts economies like that in the gulf states. i just have a couple of questions. you said the stafford act could have been handled -- it could of been handled much better could you elaborate? what could have been done that would have been better in helping to manage the problem in the gulf, if you as governor and the governor of louisiana did have the control you wanted? >> two reasons -- we are used to it. we'll deal with it all of the time. we have all had to work on the the stafford act because that is what we do with hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, etc.. the stafford act expressly says the efforts of the federal government are to supplement
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state efforts. there was an impression that the federal government told everybody what to do. that not only is contrary to the u.s. consist -- constitution and bad law, but it also did not work. our people were jim -- were much better able to do things than the federal people were able to do. eak the stafford act is a purpose -- perfect adult. >> have the federal government recognize your jurisdiction under the stafford act, tell me how that would have been more of a positive situation or solution for your. >> where it really became very apparent, we have a defense plan to defend our shores from oil. different from louisiana because we are 100 miles away. we recruited 1100 quote vessels of opportunity of those are people who rated their boats to, to put them out of session for
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picket lines to try to stop the oil south of the barrier islands, in the same. so we had actually a five layered defense. we found out weeks into that the coast guard had no way of managing that. they had approved the plan. they had no way of managing that. we literally sent people to wal-mart to buy radios. we had a situation where our air national guard, starting 4:00 every morning, flew infrared photography of the whole sound and south of the sound to find the oil. the coast guard had no way to tell the vessels of opportunity where to go. we had to set up a whole communication system, and command-and-control system, which we did not do for weeks because we thought the coast guard knew more about this than we did. but it turned out that we had to
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set up the comedic haitian system. we had to set up the command-and-control system. and frankly, they were cooperative when it got to it. but should american to that. we were lucky that this disaster was manageable enough that you could make those kinds of mistakes and still clean them up. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, governor. >> would the gentleman yield his remaining time? >> i would be happy to. >> i'm sorry, i was over. >> we do not yield the other side of the remaining time. without i recognize the gentlelady from new york for five minutes. >> i thank the chairman for recognizing me, and welcome, governor. welcome representative. it's very good to see you again. thank you for being here. governor, the government accountability office, the nonpartisan bipartisan unit issued, and i believe they will
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be testifying later on today on panel, they issued several reports warning that taxpayers are not receiving a just or fair return for oil and gas in the gulf of mexico. specifically, the gao reports the fault of these so-called royalties released granted by congress is a mid 1990s when gas and oil companies were not doing as well as they are today, but they encourage additional exploration of the time when oil and gas were lower. and under some of these leases, oil companies pay absolutely no royalties at all to the american people when they drill on federal land. and this is oil that is owned by the american people. it is on federal land. usually there's a royalty paid back to the government to the
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taxpayers, but here they pay absolutely nothing back. and i would like to quote from the report. special lower royalty rates referred to as royalty relief granted on leases issued in the deep water areas north of mexico from 1996 to 2000, appeared in which oil and gas prices and industry profit were much lower than they are today, could result in between 21 billion, and $53 billion in lost revenue to the american people. to the federal government, compared to what they would have received without these provisions. end quote. our chairman in a rare expression of bipartisan support, i want to compliment you, mr. ice, for the significant work that you've done in this area. and on this issue. you had call to an end to this
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october 7, 2009, chairman issa issued a staff report warning that actual shortfalls to u.s. taxpayers could be much, much larger, and this is what his report said, and i quote, depending upon the market price of oil and natural gas, the total cost of forgoing royalties could total nearly $80 billion. oil and gas royalty payments represent one of the countries largest nontax sources of revenue. taxpayers must get every cent that is owed to them, end quote. and i agree completely with chairman issa. and governor, do you agree with chairman issa on this state of? >> man, i can say that we are very familiar with this in that for more than 50 years the rest of the country has been sucking the gulf drive and we get
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nothing. the period of time to talk about in the late '90s, all this production of the gulf of mexico and the states were paid nothing, zero, nothing. when you drill on government land in wyoming, wyoming gets some of the money. but fortunately in the last administration, this was changed, and we're going to start on a little stairstep basis getting a little bit of the royalty, and ultimately may be about 2017 or something, the states will get a legitimate fair share of the royalty. so i am very sympathetic to the royalty owner, because we feel like we should be considered royalty owners, too. and that the federal taxpayer and the taxpayer of mississippi, both ought to be getting a fair royalty for the production of oil and gas. or if it's cold, on land or
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whatever, i think that is absolutely the case. but i hope you all will please understand we are only five states in the country that allow offshore towing, the other 45 ought to let us, five, to allow it. they ought to allow us participate in royalty owners, to. >> the real royalty owner is the american taxpayer. so do you believe the taxpayer has a right to every cent that is owed to them under these leases, and that they should be completely corrected as the chairman said? >> and i believe the mississippi taxpayer should share in that when we are dealing in the waters that are mississippi waters and are part of the outer continental shelf that is recognized as mississippi. so i'm not arguing with your point about the federal taxpayers. i just want to make sure that the state taxpayers get treated as royalty owners in the five states that allow this. it's not fair for the other 45
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states that burned the oil that we have taken out of our outer continental shelf and they get treated the same way we do. >> well, i must speak that was a yes. >> i must state for the record though when chairman markey are ranking member markie has a bill on this that would corrected, and what came before congress early this year as an amendment, and several other amendments regretfully, chairman issa voted against it. and i feel the same as governor barbour, that they should be corrected, that the american taxpayer is entitled to the royalties for oil extracted from taxpayer owned federal and state owned property. and i hope that you will join with us in a bipartisan way to correct this going forward so that there is fair treatment to the states into the government, and basically to the american
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taxpayer. >> we now recognize the gentleman from oklahoma. >> i would like to yield my time back to the chairman. >> i thank the gentleman. congressman, you don't have to remain -- you are welcome to stay. you look good with the governor. you always look good next to governor. that will look good. >> i thank you. governor, congresswoman maloney did make a valid point but i want to follow-up on your point too. today you're going to have an economic loss that will be unreimbursed as result of the bp oil spill, correct? >> no question of that. >> and so for the foreseeable future, if there were to be another one, would you potentially have another oil loss in which federal government was able to get fines, the
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federal government -- i don't think we collect royalties on what is built into the goal, but short of that, we will continue from that particular day, that's not a relief one, it's not covered by the clinton era contract failures. the fact is, you stand at risk without an ability to get any premium on that risk in the gulf, is that correct? if it is outside -- welcome to. >> we are not compensated for what we do. >> so let me ask a straightforward question. to you believe that from this side, that we should look at legislation that provides sooner and more specific revenue sharing, based on the potential risk, in other words, effectively an insurance policy where you would have revenue, not for current expenditure, but for future expenditure, if you have another economic event like this? >> two things. there is legislation which pass i think in 2006 that is going to
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stairstep up, going to give the states a share and stairstep it up, and maybe by 2017 we -- >> i think you get 10% of the royalties. >> it will go up to maybe 35% or something. but until that goes into effect, and i would urge y'all, put it into effect community, you know, that's what we would like to see. put into effect immediately. then we would have some compensation for the risk we take. right now the only way that i see that we can reasonably be compensated for the damage done to us is if you take the clean water act fines, and they're going to be clean water act fines potentially in the billions, and that the states that were affected be given a share of that, with enough flexibility that they can spend it to help their economy.
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that day not have to get the money and say, we're going to use all this money to clean up from the bp oil spill. bp has already paid the clip for the bp oil spill. our damage is economic damage, to tourism, to the seafood industry, not that the seafood was hurt, just that nobody would buy it. they wouldn't let us finish fourth and and for the people work in the oil and gas industry, somebody mentioned a very sad thing that 11 people died on this oil rig. four of them were from mississippi. and this will, that gives you an idea of sort of a reference. we have a lot of people to work in this industry, and right now you know where they are? i went and visited the oil rigs 80 miles west of israel. i met two guys from mississippi who were working in that oil well in israel you have been working in the gulf of mexico the year before, and they had to leave because of the moratorium.
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>> we certainly have seen a lot of those rigs sail loft. let me ask you a follow-up question. you mentioned the immediate following, too much control by federal government in bp, but governor, doesn't that continue -- doesn't that continue until today? is a bp still in the driver seat on compensation? arch on the backend ability to help your people? >> regardless -- i'm a recovering warrior, so i know that a judge has ruled that the gulf coast compensation facility, whatever it is called, that that is not true independent of bp. and that may legally be technically be right but i think they're trying to do a good job. we don't get many complaints in mississippi. they're doing something that is complicated. and i will say this about it. it is sure better than having to litigate all this where people
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wouldn't get their money for years and years and years, and the trial lawyers would get half the money. so, it is a long way from perfect, just like what i do a long way from perfect. but i think it is better than the alternative of litigation. and as i say, we have cases that are typical cases where people are not satisfied, but we really don't get complaints that we've been paid mississippi counties, people have been paid about 340, $350 million. >> and a gentlelady from new york is left but i might note for the record that i still am trying to find a constitutional way to suggest for those flawed contracts that were signed, this committee held hearings much earlier on it, found that the oil companies thought they were going to be paying royalties were actually surprised when they found out in the contracts allow them not to.
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with that i would recognize the gentleman from maryland, the ranking member for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. governor barbour, there is in the animal kingdom down in disney world there is a saying over the animal kingdom that says this, it says we did not inherit our environment from our ancestors. we borrow it from our children. and in that light, you know, i was reading a statement on a written statement, and it said, and i quote, the other major economic impact resulted from the moratorium. and i want to step away from broad generalities and focus on specific measures to prevent this kind of massive oil spill from ever happening again. everyone remembers bp's repeated failures to cap the well. it became clear to me that bp had no idea how to end this disaster.
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every week they would try a new strategy. but it was a complete trial and error fiasco. they tried to top it. i was down there when they're trying to build a top hat. i watch them doing it. .. >> they tried several more times until finally they tried the static kill. they basically injected mod into the blood per venter to stop -- blowout preventer to stop the flow of oil. it was evident bp did not have the technology to handle a deep water blowout, which i think is atrocious. governor, i want to ask you
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about specific requirements issued by the department of interior to require oil companies to prove they can cap a well before receiving a drilling permit. are you familiar with that requirement? >> i am not familiar with that specific requirement. >> all right. let me read what it says. "each oil company must demonstrate that it has access to and can deploy its surface and containment resources that would be adequate to promptly respond to a block." -- a blowout. do you think the specific safety measures should be repealed? >> congressman, superficially, that is a reasonable statement that you just made. how is enforced and regulated is something of which i am
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ignorant. what i know is that we have had more than 31,000 wells drilled in my life, and this is the only time anything like this, anything vaguely like this has ever happened. when you consider the amount of our domestic oil production that comes out of the gulf and offshore drilling elsewhere, when you consider the fact that we have an energy security, a military security, and a national security issue in this country because we import way to much foreign oil, including a lot from people who are not our friends, then i would not be in favor of anything that reduces the production of domestic oil. i think the risks are way too small compared to what you give up. >> so, in other words, if this were to happen again -- if we
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had 87 days of oil spilling out into our waters, you are saying that the risk of that far outweighs the economic situation? i am not try to put words in your mouth i tell you. i saw a lot of what you saw i sa. i saw the pelicans. i talked to the fisherman, the tourism people, and the industry people. in know what they said? they said we agree that we should have the ability, and it should be proven ability to tap something like this before we even can drill. i think beyond that, congressman, it's very clear that this well blew out because normal standard procedures and protocols weren't followed. i don't think there's any question that corners were cut.
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i don't know whose fault it was. i don't know who the specific responsible party is. but i don't think there's any question that that was the cause of all this and that is why i say the risk in 1 out of 31,000 is worth taking when you're talking about something that's so important to the economy of the united states of america. that's why i have that view. >> i understand. thank you. >> the gentleman from tennessee is recognized for five minutes >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you governor barbour for being here. along the lines of the negative effects of stricter drilling regulations on the offshore industry, why don't we take a minute and have you expound on the effects that the bureau of ocean energy management revenue and enforcement has been issuing -- well, let me back up. the bureau of ocean energy
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management revenue enforcement has been issuing a great deal of new regulations affecting offshore drilling. have your constituents been in touch with you about these new rules? >> yes. >> and did they find them problematic? >> well, the people that talked to us don't know all the details of the rules. all they know is that the regulatory efforts of the government are shutting down the gulf. have shut down the gulf. i mentioned earlier, i was in israel this winter, like in february, our offshore drilling rig -- two of the guys who were working on the rig were from mississippi. almost every american on that rig had been working in the gulf of mexico a year before. they had got run out of the gulf because of the moratorium and because of the belief, the perception, that the -- that it was going to be a long time before there was going to be drilling again in the gulf of mexico. that's what we get. people who have lost their jobs,
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kids who have lost their jobs, who are worried about -- who are worried about this. the service -- we have people who work offshore, but we also have significant service industries in our state that repair rigs that build service boats, that work on boats and that. so it is a big industry in the gulf south. >> okay. let's talk a little bit about bp's actions during this spill and recovery. there were many officials and citizens that said bp played too large of a role in the spill response and the federal government should not have let him play that large of a role and that was a common criticism that we heard in the media of the spill. at any point during the disaster during the recovery phase did bp have too much of a say in the response? >> well, no question, bp add big say in their response. and they were paying for it. but i have to tell you, congressman, sometimes bp was easier to deal with than the government. that's just a fact of life that
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we learn. that sometimes the federal government is not the easiest business to deal with. everything we were asking for, they had to pay for. everything that we asked them to do, they considered and almost every time they did it, where many times we would ask the federal government for something, like skimmers -- when we were trying to get skimmers, we thought the federal government was going to have to -- was supposed to have skimmers for us when the oil got close enough. it turns out we had to go get bp to give us the money to get some shipyards in mississippi to build the skimmers. so we'd have enough skimmers. so i'm not going to berate that part of the oil pollution act. what we didn't like was this state sovereignty by the federal government. >> if you want to put on your teachers hat for a moment and
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grade the response efforts of bp, the coast guard and the obama administration, what grade would you give each of them? >> you know, when you have been through the worst natural disaster in american history, as governor of mississippi, you learn not to criticize people too harshly for unprecedented, unforeseen disasters, natural or otherwise. but they had a hard time. they seemed slow to try to get in charge. we had the problems i'm talking about with command and control. but i don't want to be overly critical because when stuff like this happens, you make mistakes. and so that's why i'm -- i try not to assess blame. let's just figure out how to do it better. >> and i think that's very diplomatic and reasonable because no one can fully prepare for these. we always learn and we try to make improvements, and i think -- i agree with your
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statement. one last thing on the seafood. you said in your opening statements. the seafood is safe to eat and what the reproduction or is it too early to tell. >> we have had no evidence whatsoever or finding of anything from the oil spill that got into the reproductive chain. i mean, we're not seeing fish with four eyes or anything like that. but for a variety of reasons, we had a really great fall, but with the freshwater that's being allowed into the mississippi sound because of flood control in the river and the open of the bonnie carath through the lake pontchartrain and we're getting a lot of water that's going to kill the oysters. we're going to have to rebuild the oysters bed.
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the oysters can't get away the shrimp and the fin fish they get away from the freshwater and it shouldn't affect them. we have had some losses in dolphins, sea turtles that are more than normal. the peculiar thing about it is, we started seeing it before the oil spill. just a little bit before the oil spill this started happening. so nobody has been able to tie it but that is something we've got our antenna up about. is it we have seen mortality rates among sea mammals and sea turtles, for some reason, have been rising since last march or so. >> thank you, governor. >> thank you, sir. >> the gentleman's time has expired. we now go to the gentlelady from the district of columbia, ms. norton for five minutes. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. governor, i appreciate your coming. i've listened to what you've had to say.
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much of it is reasonable. you say it's better than to litigate. i also agree you have blessings and curses in your part of the economy. the united states depends on your economy and the seafood there and sometimes they are at odds with each other. there are certain kinds of risks that have to be taken. i take it you would agree, therefore, that the best way to handle those risks is to prevent them. >> well, ma'am, if you mean -- >> quit -- >> no, ma'am. >> i mean, obviously, governor, an oil -- i mean, from preventing an oil spill. >> that's right. follow the right protocols and procedures so you don't have one to start with. >> yes, sir, it's what is hearing is all about. it's about the oil spill.
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now, the administration has focused on how to prevent it from happening again. but it has been severely criticized for regulations that would apparently accomplish and increase regulations and it's been burdensome and it's been criticized because the regulations would cost jobs. therefore, i was intrigued by what some of the -- from the very opposite top of the oil industry is saying and i would like your view on this. let's take john watkin who's the chairman and ceo of chevron. he indicates that he himself -- they themselves have a burden here. but he says, and i'm quoting now, far from resisting are those rules, he means the regulations that are coming out, our industry is helping to
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strengthen them. the proactive and uncompromising approach of safety is the test we should all apply to any company starting with our own. in an industry that is always edging up against the frontiers of the biology and engineering. the best practices should be the only practices, corporate responsibility does not end with meeting market demands. would you agree with mr. watson, the chairman and ceo and his statement. >> with the statement i would. because i think what he's saying is the chairman of a big oil company, his incentive, among others, is he doesn't want his stockholders to be out $20 billion like the bp stockholders are. and that he's going to make sure they do it right the first time. >> and you're saying -- and what
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is -- what is -- what is really interesting in what he's saying is that the company not only supports the administration's new safety measures but they are working with the administration to make them stronger. he does not appear to be fighting the regulations for which the administration has been criticized. i want to give you another example from the top of the industry, the president of shell, marvin odom. again, shouldering his own responsibility but he says additional safeguards beyond what he himself would do must be strengthened across the industry to develop the capacity to quickly respond and resolve a deep water well blowout in the gulf of mexico. regardless of how unlikely it is that this situation will occur. and it didn't come from members
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of congress, that comes from the top of the oil industry and i just want to know if you would agree with mr. odum as well? >> i certainly don't take any issue with what you said. >> because i agree with you about the importance of preventing rather than litigating as you said, do you hold the industry accountable, here you have another oil executive arguing for more robust requirements to demonstrate the capacity to cap a well if there's a blowout. i just think it's important to bring out how the industry, instead of fighting regulations is working with the administration for tougher regulations? i think their concern, governor, is that these regulations would be across-the-board. so some of them are not engaged
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in spending more money to be more safe than others. so if there are regulations saying all of you are held to the highest standard given this blowout, then everybody, it seems to me, in the marketplace will be on an even playing field. >> the gentlelady's time has expired. >> i'll just simply say, ma'am, these companies have huge incentives to self-regulate. we went from -- for 50 years with one -- well, no occasions in 31,000 wells before bp. it's the only time it's ever happened and i think what the ceo of chevron is saying and the ceo of shell are saying is, yeah, we want to work with the government. we want to make sure there's rational regulation. that's not saying every regulation anybody can think of is something that we're for. in fact, mr. watson has been very, very public in saying that the moratorium was terrible.
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and was a huge mistake. >> and the difference between a moratorium and new regulation. >> well, it's a form of regulation. we're going to shut you down and while we're writing new regulations. while everything that you said i am very comfortable with, there are connotations there that i don't think we should take too far. if the idea is that no risk is too small and no cost is too high, i don't think any of -- any company in any industry would agree with that. >> and, of course, governor, that's a -- >> the gentleman from pennsylvania is recognized, mr. kelly. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i would like to yield my time back to the chair. >> i thank the gentleman. governor, that means he's given me the time. >> i couldn't see him. i'm sorry. >> i have no shortage of questions in responses. governor are you familiar with
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the containment -- >> no, ma'am -- nost. i was thinking of ms. norton. >> they are the group that's basically overseeing billion dollars of funds that were put together by the various oil companies so that would happen that one of in the-1,000 times they would have a whole different category of response. did that refresh your memory. >> i didn't know it by that time. but it's the industry effort for post-oil spill, yeah, i'm familiar with the program not with the name. >> and wasn't that billion dollars spent by the companies that had never had significant spills in the gulf. exxon, chevron, and conoco. i wanted to make sure we got that in the record. another thing i wanted to get in the record, as you know, governor, when you and i first met i was a businessman and you were a recovering businessman. it takes a long time to recover.
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the number you gave earlier was meaningful enough to repeat it. 1.4 million barrels per year seep into the gulf approximately automatically, right? >> yes, sir. that is what the usgis says. >> and for aeons, the gulf has absorbed that. it diffuses it. it ultimately is part of the ecosystem. let's go matter as a businessman and i want to get through it as quickly as possible. the federal government estimates that approximately 25% of that 4. -- or the federal government estimates 4.9 million barrels came out of the well into the gulf. approximately 25% or a little over 1.2 million were recovered. that leaves us 3.4 million barrels that got into the gulf in this disaster. i'm not reducing this for a minute but let's just do the numbers. so of that, approximately
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another 25% was burned off and another 25% was estimated to be dispersed using disbursement and we all understand there's some controversy about whether disbursement and if you take that was dispersed or burned off you're down to half, 2 million nearly 3 million barrels, no matter how you look at it whether you take the whole amount or the reduced amount, you got less than three years worth of oil went in, in one short quarter of the year period and you got about two years, if you give credit for these efforts to mitigate. is it any surprise to you that the gulf fish, shellfish and so on is doing just fine when, in fact, this is essentially, including the natural amount that's still coming in the gulf, this is about three year's worth maybe total that went into the gulf in one year. that this is not such a big
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thing even though it's a big thing to us individually and big a-big thing when it gets to your shores? >> congressman, right after the oil spill happened, in the first month or so, we had professors and experts who told us that the gulf for lack of a better term would digest this. that there are microorganisms in the gulf of mexico, and i think in other places where you have oil seeps that eat the oil. >> including santa barbara, california. >> that's right. i think probably the first place in the country that it was ever talked about was santa barbara. that they have oil that seeps through the floor there. but there were scientists who predicted that the gulf would essentially eat this up. and that's organisms would eat it up and there's millions and they would multiply. if you're in the job as the head
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of the disaster management you don't assume that's true. so we never assumed it was true. but it looks like to the layman from afar that that is, in fact, what happened. that the microorganisms were able to manage this and maybe that wasn't totally unforeseeable because they do eat up so much oil every year. two other thing i would mention, unlike exxon valdez, this was light oil. and secondly, the water was warm. exxon valdez, the water was very, very cold. the water here is pretty dang warm and the light touch, the benzines, the toluenes, they all evaporate faster in that warm water. >> i thank the gentleman. the time has expired. i recognize mr. clay for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and thank you, governor, for coming today to the hearing. >> thank you, sir.
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>> governor, the national commission report noted something that may seem obvious which is that offshore oil and gas industry is inherently dangerous. but the commission also reported the accident are surprisingly comment that involved loss of well control. here's what the report said. drilling rigs are themselves dangerous places to work. hence, heavy work, chemicals flammable oil and gas all surrounded by the open sea environment far from shore. where weather and water conditions can change rapidly and dramatically. the seriousness of these risks to worker safety and the environment are underscored by the sheer number of accidents. governor, the commission report then says that there have been 76 accidents in the gulf between
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1996 and 2009 that involve loss of well control accidents. and many of these accidents occurred very close to your state. were you aware of these figures? 76 accidents? >> of course, if my state is an oil and gas state, not just offshore and a drilling rig is dangerous. i mean, you see a lot of people who worked in the oil fields who lost fingers. got hurt. you know, got hurt one way or the other and got burned. it's a dangerous thing. the accidents you're talking about, though, all turned out to be -- were managed. they were manageable and managed. the bp macondo well spill is unique. but yes, sir, it's a dangerous industry and there are accidents that happen onshore and off. >> but do you think these numbers indicate the new safety measures were long overdue well
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before the deepwater oil spill? >> i think the industry tries very hard to protect their people 'cause it's very expensive when they don't. and so rational regulation is something we all ought to be for. we need to be careful of the excessive unnecessary and harmful regulations is my point. >> fair enough. some have suggested that new safety measures should apply only to deepwater wells because that's where bp's rig was when it exploded. do you believe that shallow water drilling should be exempt from new safety measures the administration is implementing? >> well, again, if you're talking about safety measures, to try to prevent injuries i don't think that's what you're talking about. treating the -- my only i would
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deepwater wells off the shelf as well. >> thank you for the answer. governor, doctor harriet perry of the university of southern mississippi's gulf coast research lab identified oil droplets in blue crab larvae last summer. this was the first time she had seen anything like that in 42 years of studying the species. do you think those oil droplets would do to the moratorium or the bp disaster. >> if they had shown up in any samples that we ever took out of the gulf, i would have been concerned about them. the seafood samples and we're very proud of the gulf laboratory of the usm but that finding was never replicated or we didn't have any similar findings in any samples that came out of the catch.
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and that's why it hasn't -- that hasn't bothered me. we just have had no seafood sample and neither has the federal government according to what they've reported to us that had any kind of evidence of oil pollution on it. >> governor, here, there are a number of reports of red snapper showing up with legions on the gulf. louisiana university professor is fairly confident that these legions are consistent with the toxic oil exposure. and i can share it with you, but here's a photo of the lesion of the red snapper. do you think that was a result of the oil spill. >> again, congressman, if there was showing up in any samples of seafood taken by the federal government or state government, i would be more concerned about
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it than when a college professor finds it in some anomalous place. >> but would you be concerned about -- >> if it were showing up in seafood samples that we're sampling by the thousands between the federal government and the state government, then that would give me real pause, but we're not. the fact that we're not finding it, means that i'm really not -- i don't know what the professors are finding or reporting to the news media. >> the gentleman's time has expired. the question has been asked and answered. we now go to the gentleman from texas. and please do not get into this texas versus mississippi oil, okay? you're recognized for five minutes. >> texas and mississippi share a common bond. we're both bordered by the gulf of mexico and both deeply
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affected by what happens in the gulf of mexico both environmentally and economically. i think you alluded in the answer to the -- one of your answers to the previous questions, governor, there are other countries that are drilling in the gulf of mexico and whose oil and gas rigs -- if there were to be an accident similar to bp or even smaller would affect our coast, is that not correct? >> particularly florida. >> so -- >> sure. >> absolutely. you got the brazilians looking at drilling. cuba is offering leases. just immediately nearby in florida, mexico for a long time. i know you're a recovering attorney. i'm a recovering attorney too. the u.s. doesn't have any jurisdiction over any of those -- any of those drilling operations. we can enact every imaginable regulation, and cuba and mexico
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could say, no. >> that's correct. >> don't you think it might be a better use of our resources rather than crippling our domestic companies and our domestic exploration 25% of our domestic oil supply that we might be focusing on how to respond in the event one of these accidents -- or any sort of accident occurs again? >> i do. i do think it's more -- i think it's appropriate the oil industry is doing it itself. they know more about it than anybody else. it looks to me we ought to be using our resources to have more american energy. that we need to get ourselves off of foreign energy and the best way to do that is to increase the supply of american industry. this has hurt that because this is a big source of domestic oil and the number of permits for new deepwater wells, about a fourth of all our oil is down 85% 85% the first year.
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and whether it's coal or oil or gas or hydraulic fracturing, we need to produce more american energy. >> and no -- in your opinion, no amount of government regulation will protect us from what other countries are doing? >> well, if we have rash regulation, that is good. but to have excessive regulation, unnecessary regulation, that's bad. >> and regulations like -- and slowdowns in issuing permits i think you would consider to be a problem, too? >> of course it is. >> and like texas, i assume mississippi has seen significant job loss as a result of that? >> we have, though, most of the guys have just left. >> and are you seeing assets that have been based in your state moving into other areas of the world, drilling platforms and -- >> what we saw happen after the
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moratorium, some of the big rigs to come for maintenance. it's good because you can't work but after the maintenance was done, they left. the way the industry works, those big rigs, they go work on big jobs. they're very expensive to move, not only in cost of moving but opportunity costs. they get paid huge amounts of money a day to operate them. whether they come back i assume they will come back is a serious issue. we saw not only the jobs move but we saw the drilling rigs that produced the jobs go to australia, go to angola, brazil. so that's a big damage to us not just to jobs on the platforms but jobs in the service industry. >> all right. and i appreciate you coming up and taking the time to share your experiences with us. i know your time is valuable so i'll yield back. thank you. >> would the gentleman yield? >> oh, yes, sir. >> thank you. >> governor, 250,000 barrels a
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day less are going to be taken out of the gulf. if more than a quarter of that is mississippi-related economic-related, what does that do to your economy relative to oil in the foreseeable future? that's the estimate. it's undenied at this point for the next two years. >> we get so little of it. >> i'm not talking about the royalty revenues. i'm talking about the jobs. >> well, it does have an effect on jobs. we have a lot of people who work offshore. as i said, i don't mean this as precision, but 4 of the 11 people killed on the rig were killed from mississippi which gives you a sense of the number of people that we have working in the industry on rigs, in the service industries. we have companies in my state that manufacture drilling rigs. that build service boats. so it ripples all through the economy. >> governor, last question, isn't it -- isn't it really a
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question of do we get it in america or do we get it somewhere else? isn't that really the gulf question today? >> well, if you look at when is the united states had reduced use of oil, it's every time been a recession. and so i don't want a recession. if we're going to keep a strong economy, we have got to produce more energy in the united states including oil. and to go shoot the best goose we've got laying golden eggs, the gulf of mexico, where we're getting 30% of our oil, or we were, and that production is going down now. and it's going to keep going down. remember, oil production today is based on decisions that were made in the past. normally, several years in the past. a moratorium is one of the few things that has an immediate impact. when we see -- what we're seeing
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right now with high energy prices, the speculators are speculating the u.s. is going to be producing less and less oil because they think the administration's policies will result in that. so they're betting the price of oil is going to go up. and then you take that with the value of the dollar which oil prices are denominated as dollars as the value of the dollar goes down, then that's a double whammy for the people who are paying $4 for gasoline. and the people that think you're going to deal with that by raising taxes on oil companies forget that they won't pay those taxes. they're just going to pass it on to the guy who pumps gas in his pickup truck. and so that's why they produced the best oil, and that's the best thing to keep oil prices reasonable. >> thank you, governor. mr. davis is recognized for 5 minutes. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman.
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thank you, governor, for being here. >> thank you, sir. >> i've listened intently to your testimony. of course, i grew up in the mississippi delta. >> did you really? >> on the other side of the river near greenville, mississippi, just a few miles. as dick gregory knows in chicago we fondly say that the only place where you will find more african-americans from mississippi is in mississippi. >> amen. >> and so we have a tremendous relationship with the state itself and we watch there closely what takes place and what goes on. i know that we're talking about the worse environmental disaster in the history of our country. but as you indicated in your testimony, it also has massive economic impact, particularly, in the fishing and tourism
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industries. and i want to focus a little bit there. according to the noaa, the total amount of shrimp caught commercially in the gulf decreased 27% from 2009 to 2010. the amount of shrimp caught commercially in mississippi was down 60% last year from the year before. could you share, and you've done it eloquently, a bit more of the economic impact that has occurred as a result of the oil spill? >> the fish industry hurt very badly because waters were closed, federal waters were closed first. mississippi waters were closed once we had encroachment. louisiana, because they were closer to the well, their waters were closed very early as well.
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and this is -- this is the principal fisheries for us for shrimp. now, we have big shrimp boats that will go all the way down the texas coast and come all the way back around the florida coast but there are not that many of them that are that big that go that far. so we have a lot of fishermen in the shrimp industry who's waters were closed to them. their losses were mitigated by the fact that bp was willing to hire their boats to be part of this vessels of opportunity program, about 1100 boats participated. and most days we'd have 5, 6, 700 boats out there and they would be getting paid -- some of them made fishing but the processors got clobbered. and nowhere if they don't have processors. and so while they were getting a chance to be helped, there was nobody who was helping the processors. and without the processor there's no fishermen.
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and so fishing was hurt that way. recreational fishing which is a real industry in my state. there are people in chicago who come down there and boat captains take them out fishing. shut out. shut down. again, they got some relief from the program but hurt very badly. so just in that -- just in that little small segment, we don't even talk about motels, restaurants. louisiana, to their great credit, they have new orleans. and if there's oil on the beach in venice, tourists still come to new orleans. >> are you confident that our food and drug administration and environmental protection agency that the agencies that we rely upon to determine the safety in many instances of especially the things that we consume that they are equipped, really give us
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information that we need to know to feel comfortable and secure? >> i have no reason not to be, congressman. and so i am. it is -- it's a team of state and federal, but, yes, sir. >> let me ask you, other than perhaps the lifting of any moratorium, what else can the federal government do that might assist with the economy? we know that the economy, obviously, was hurt badly. we know what the economy was even before the spill. what can the federal government do to add further assistance? >> the federal government is able to collect enormous fines under the clean water act. now, the federal government could assess those fines and through whatever process, either by agreement or by litigation say bp is going to pay x billions.
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the federal government could take that and just put it in the general treasury and move on and use it to reduce the debt, you know. it might cover a day or two worth of deficit. but we think the best thing the federal government could do is let some of the money, and there's legislation in the senate, i believe, to let most of the fine money go to the states. let the states use the money for with flexibility, with economic growth there. maybe that -- it has to be related to the gulf and the gulf economy. but we're going to have people who were fishermen two years ago that are not fishermen today and they're never going to be fishermen again because of the capital investment and the cost. we need to create jobs for them on the coast. maybe at the port. maybe in alabama they've got something totally different. maybe in florida, there's a whole different concept.
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but we would like to see a significant part of the fine money be given to the states and the states have the flexibility to use the money to have the maximum minimal growth in the areas. thank you congressman, thank you for answer. >> we'll go mr. labrador for a few minutes. >> in idaho, obviously, we don't have an oil industry so i don't spend a lot of time thinking about this. but i think about commonsense. there's a lot of commonsense lacking in here. i'll give you an example. you had a colloquy with several people here on the panel -- on this side and sometimes commonsense just seems to lack in washington, d.c. a couple of weeks ago, maybe a month ago, the first lady, her plane was close to -- they claim that it was close to an
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accident. and apparently she was within three miles of another plane. and the regulations said that all planes should be within five miles of each other. and apparently the first lady was within three miles and i'll get to my point and i think you'll get it in just a second. so the response in washington, d.c., was not, hey, gee, somebody screwed up and they failed to comply with the regulation. they should have been 5 miles instead of 3 miles. the response in washington was, we need new regulation. and it seems like that's all i ever hear about in washington, d.c. when somebody screws up, when somebody makes a mistake, we don't, say, that idiot didn't follow the regulations. what we're seeing -- we need new regulation. and it's to me incomprehensible. that all we can ever think about is adding regulation upon regulation when the regulators
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are not doing their job. they already have regulations that should actually be enforced and instead all we ever talk about is making it more difficult for industries, for private enterprise, for individuals to live, to survive. so can you explain to me -- and i think you mentioned this earlier, i think you mentioned that the macondo incident occurred because regulations were not followed. in fact, i think your word was that some corners were cut. can you explain that a little bit more to me, what you meant by that? >> i can't cite the regulatory regime, but in the normal standards and protocols of shutting in a well, it was clear from the reports at the time and nobody has denied it, that they didn't follow the standards and protocols that the industry had -- had been using settled on and had worked with great result for a long, long, long time.
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this was widely reported and so it always seemed to me pretty clear why the well blew out. and this was reportedly, again, with nobody arguing -- this was a pretty tough well. they had trouble with this well. it had hiccups. it had belches of natural gas that they had trouble with. they had to shut the well down at least once during this. so this wasn't a well to cut corners on. this was a big elephant well, but they did cut the corners and you're right. when you say the issue is following the regulations we got now, i can't improve on your statement. in washington we don't understand is, why is it that we can't understand is we have regulations -- i think you used a number -- we've done this in
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the gulf 30,000 times and this is the first time something like this happens. can you repeat that again? you said -- >> yeah, there have been more than 31,000 oil wells drilled in the gulf of mexico in the last 50 years or since they opened the gulf in our four states. and there's never like this vaguely to happen. >> okay. i think i will yield the rest my time to the chairman. i just for the life of me i cannot understand why we cannot not in washington just understand that if we enforce the regulations that are in place, we will actually be able to have a good environment. we will be able to have good water and jobs and the economy will improve. thank you very much. >> thank you. >> you know, i'm going to follow up on the gentleman's line of questioning because i think it was excellent. governor, on the day that the oil well blew 100 miles off your shore, there were two mms officials, a father and son team, that came on; reviewed,
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passed and left. isn't that so as far as you know? >> i don't know that, but -- >> but i assume it's true if you said it. >> but we're going to have the administrator of the successor organization mms up here next and that's going to be one of our questions, why is it that what failed before won't fail again? and that's going to be a line of questioning, as not just of the new regulations but an agency that failed to ensure safety. what has changed there. so hopefully they'll be as candid as you've been. >> well, i have to say to you, i accept that because the 31,000 wells i actually got from janet napolitano and i accept that those two guys were there. >> thank you, governor. the gentleman from virginia, mr. connelly. and by the way, i didn't have to look up what chutzpah was in your opening statement. but it was interesting to see using imported words. >> thank you. thank you, mr. chairman.
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where i come from, chutzpah is a very common word. and i want to welcome governor haley barbour to this committee. and just speaking for myself, i regret very much you're not running for president. i think you would have added a good political sense and humor so we're sorry we're not going to see your candidacy. >> thank you very much, congressman. that's very gracious. >> and thank you for your service. governor, i was listening to your explaining with congressman burton and explaining about the negative media attention as somebody who ran a very large county with 1.1 million people i can sympathize but on the other hand, was it the bad media that caused a hit to the mississippi economy or was it the devastation of the oil spill itself? >> congressman, we didn't have devastation. i mean, the problem was the news media took the very, very, very worst areas in louisiana and
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they repeatedly showed that over and over and over. and it gave people the impression, that's the way it was all over the gulf coast. they would actually have stories about mississippi and pictures from louisiana. >> hmmm. >> and you may not have been in here, literally, on our 80-mile shoreline, we never closed 1 foot of beach for one day except on one occasion. we had a high tide, either right before or right after a hurricane missed us, and it pushed some water over the highway and through a culvert and it pushed some oil patties up there and we closed that beach for more than -- we actually closed that beach overnight. that's the only time, but if you watched tv in virginia, you saw louisiana and you thought mississippi and florida and
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alabama for that matter and texas were all the same way. and that's what killed our tourist season. >> yes. common problem with the media sometimes in terms of -- >> amen. that's bipartisan. >> yep, absolutely. when you look back now and if someone gave you a truth serum, do you think in retrospect that the process for permitting and improving deepwater horizon oil rig was flawed? for example, it got a categorical exclusion under the process because the process allowed for that? in retrospect, was that a mistake? the nepa and one other aspect, governor, and then please respond -- the nepa process predicted under the nepa review, which was truncated that under the worst case scenario we were looking at 4300 barrels of oil
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spilled and it would never reach the shore? >> congressman, in answer to your question, i think that what we had done for 50 years with more than 31,000 oil wells, with very positive results, in fact, nothing like this ever having happened, i would not take issue with that. i mean, regardless of what we do, occasionally you're going to have the bad outcome. but we're not going to make people quit taking left hand turns. we're not going to outlaw left hand turns. this happened one time, does that mean we have to turn the world upside down and i think
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the answer is no. >> governor, i would agree with you. i don't think we have to send the world upside down. really, my question is not that. that's not my only choice. the question is, could we in retrospect have tightened up regulation and been more rigorous in the review process such that and the enforcement, for example, get the blowout protection equipment that might have stemmed the spill or contained it? i mean, you know, i take your point that the devastation wasn't what was presented visually on television. fully respect and understand that. on the other hand, at one point the extent of the spill on the surface of the water would have gone from my district in northern virginia all the way to new york city if it were super imposed on the map here. that's eye-popping. and that's a deep concern to all of us. and so all i'm asking is don't turn the world upside down,
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could we not on a bipartisan basis agree that in light of that experience, it only requires one to create such environmental havoc. this is in the category it seems of a nuclear disaster. it only requires one to, you know -- turning left hand and having an accident god forbid this is a terrible thing if someone is hurt but it's a very contained thing. these things are not. >> if chairman is correct that there were two government regulators on the rig that day, and if the reports that have been written over and over and over without contradiction, they did not follow the normal protocols and they did not follow the standards and these two regulators were on the well that day, i think the congressman from idaho's point is the right point. it's not that we need more regulation. it's that we need to actually enforce the regulations in real
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life. if that is factually accurate, i have no reason to think it's not. >> mr. chairman, would you indulge me -- >> the gentleman is recognized for one more question. >> just a clarification, mr. chairman. thank you. do you mean by that, let's have the full regulatory process that's on the books right now, no more exclusions? >> yeah, i couldn't go that far because of my lack of information. there may be some exclusions that are well-founded that are like we see in many, many other processes, regulatory and otherwise, you know, like you fill out the form. if the answer to c and skip down to f and i don't know that exclusions are that type. >> thank you, governor. >> i thank the gentleman. governor, this may come as a surprise to you, but i haven't had my round of questions yet. i'm going last.
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oh, there may be another minority member coming and i'm going now and i recognize myself for five minutes. governor, i'm going to put up on the board a quote from secretary salazar for your comment. and i'll read it. there is no question that the suspension of deepwater drilling will have a significant negative economic impact on direct and indirect employment in the oil and gas industry as well as other secondary economic consequences. >> that's correct. >> but he did it anyway. >> that's correct. >> can you explain why somebody would know that it was going to hurt economically and by the way, he follows that up, which isn't on this book -- he follows up by noting that there's an extremely good history of safety in the oil industry.
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>> mr. chairman, my own view is that the policy of the administration is to increase the cost of energy so that people will use less of it. and, therefore, there'll be less pollution. and alternative forms of energy will become more economically competitive. i said that publicly thousands of times. i might as well say it here. when they did the moratorium, that was my assumption. that this was consistent with this policy. and look, it's one policy. it works. we got $4 gasoline. and gasoline in january of 2009 was 1.80-something. but that's what i took to be the rationale for that. is to make these other alternatives economically competitive, you had to increase
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the price of oil and other traditional -- >> well, it's certainly done that. by the way, the quote that wasn't on the screen is i'm also aware that as a general matter the safety record for deepwater drilling has been good. i'm going to go to one more very -- a very interesting quote because the next panel is going to be dealing with this. last week, or two weeks ago, as it was, secretary hays was here and told us there was no connection between high oil prices and domestic production, meaning he was quite sure if we drilled more here it wouldn't change the global price. i'm going to take you to page 23 of an mms report, mms -- it's titled mms economic impact assessment. at the time, they were assessing -- and i'll just read it 'cause it's a little hard to read that one. they were assessing at $75 a barrel, which is where we were, not where we are, unfortunately, that if production went down by 84,000 barrels a day, .84
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million barrels a day, that we would have an increase of about 47 cents a barrel. now, it went down by three times that. now, you're not an oil speculator, neither am i. but it would not surprise you that if you went down -- if you got a half a dollar increase for such a minor one and if you decrease by three times that amount, wouldn't you guess it would go up a whole lot more than that, 10, $15 a barrel could certainly happen if you took that much out of a limited economy? and particularly, if the market believes that this is going to be policy for a while, that you're going to have a moratorium in the gulf. that you're going to reduce production in the gulf. that your going to issue 85% fewer new deepwater drilling permits, that the market sees that as there's going to be less u.s. oil production. and while whoever said you can't
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affect the price of oil overnight, well, of course, that is absolutely true. but if there is a belief that the u.s. is going to produce less and less oil going forward, particularly, because of government policy, then the price of oil is going to go up. >> one more thing i wanted to get into the record. governor, you're one of the many states that are a right to work states, aren't you? >> yes, sir. >> in fact, every state in the gulf of mexico, every oil state is a right to work state? >> i think all the states in the gulf of mexico -- i don't know if every oil state is -- >> i'm sorry. california is a oil state and we're not right to work. every gulf oil state is a right to work. >> it's my belief. >> does it surprise you that the policies of this administration seem to be targeting the economic well-being of your area? and i'm not trying to say it's a big plot or anything else. but it does seem like if 9/11
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aircraft fly into the pentagon, fly into the twin towers, the next day we're figuring how to get airplanes back in the air. and yet, the economy, the seafood economy, the tourism economy and the oil economy of your states -- when you're suffering, it seems like there's no limit to how long this administration will take to have a moratorium to think about whether or not they can let you do something that's so vital to your economy? >> well, the moratorium was a mistake. it was very harmful, not only to our state but i think more importantly very harmful to the country. i can't read what's in people's hearts or what's inside their heads. but i have noted -- and i haven't said it here but i think it's appropriate to say, there has been an effort to raise taxes on the oil industry because it's a very profitable industry. but -- >> every day here, governor.
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>> it's interesting in the senate bill to raise taxes on oil industries, the idea was deficit reduction, to raise the taxes $2 billion a day. i mean, $2 billion, in a year. the problem is that's half of one day's deficit. you know, you'd to have raise the taxes on an oil industry by a factor of 700 times more than that because $2 billion tax increase on the oil industry is equal to one-half of one day's deficit. i mention that because it says to me, that can't be the real reason. i mean, the real reason can't be to touch the deficit 'cause it doesn't even touch the deficit. and, of course, as we know, the guy who's going to pay it is the one who pumps gas in his truck. so do i think there are some people who don't like the oil industry or think it's a good whipping boy politically? i suspect that. but i can't say what's inside people's hearts or minds and
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don't pretend to. but i do know it wouldn't do anything about the deficit. >> governor, i couldn't agree with you more that we can't be sure of somebody's motives, although i can be sure that if wall street were to cause an economic meltdown, that this administration would allow it to be up and running the next day because they did. the last administration did, this administration did. we've had great disasters and great impacts in other areas of the economy but amazingly, the reforms came after everyone was back up and running, not before they were allowed to go back up and run. governor, you've been very kind with your time. we appreciate your being here. you're probably the most welcomed relief to us in congress to see somebody who's doing the right things, who's making the right decisions, who's steering a course for your state and we appreciate your taking your valuable time to be up here today. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, congressman.
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>> we'll now take a five-minute recess to set up the next panel. .. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudibleons] [gavel] [inaudible conversations] >> try that again.
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[inaudible conversations] >> with that as you saw in the first panel, i'd ask all of the witnesses to rise and take the th. do you solemnly swear or affirm that the testimony you are about to give will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. let the record reflect that all witnesses answered in the
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affirmative. gentleman, the first panel was one, you are five. i will ask you to please summarize your opening statements and stay within the five minutes for each other's and our side. i apologize the first panel going long. hopefully it set up questions and answers for all of you in the second pnel. mr. taffaro. >> thank you, mr. chairman, committee members, ranking members cummings, i appreciate the opportunity to speak with you today. while there have been numerous reviews, reports, and studies completed in the -- in relation to the bp oil spill disaster, the reality of the impact continued to unfold and intermediate and long term obstacles and affects are just coming into focus. the eperiences and lessons learned through the first year of the oil spill -- remaining
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years of the oil spill recovery. those directly and indirectly impacted by the spill are offered as just that, insights. my hope is that the message delivered is not lost in the coorate world of spin markets or spinoff media expose designed to sensationalize the event and leave the victims and the coast without the attention it is warranted. insight one, hold the responsible party accountable. there are a few axiums of our society that we learned. ifyou make a mess clean it up. as simple as it sounds, there's been an allowance that allows bp to make it right on their own terms and not based on the impacted states, communities, businesses, and individuals. unlike the natural disasters that we continue to respond to as a nation, this disaster as an
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identified responsible party. there is no value in talking about the disaster in terms of responsibility if there are loopholes and justifications that allow the agent that created the mess to define the terms of the response. added to this message, here's the mess maker. somehow we seem to be routed focus is bp good or bad, is deep water drilling good or bad instead of who's responsible for the mess and has it being cleaned up in a way that does not create another mess. the reality is the value in cleaning up a mess that was created offering as much community and positive spin to the mess maker as any spin marketing campaign would accomplish. the second insight that i offer is to remove the response and restoration authority from the responsible party. this must not confuse the terms authority and responsibility.
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the responsible party being responsible should translate into doing what is eemed to be required to complete the action involved in addressing the environmental, coastal, social, economic, medical, and emotional impacts of the given disaster. removing the authority to decide what those interventions that shall be required from the responsible party protects the impacted states, communities, businesses, and inividuals from further victimization. in an over simplify indication illustration, when we are involved in a car accident, the person who caused the accident doesn't get to dictate how and what treatment is dictated. insight number three, legislate for the disaster that will happen versus one that has already happened. a critical lesson that continues to face us is the need to address current legislation in a way that transcends the most recent disaster. while the need to know causl information in any disaster is important, the framework of
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legislation that allows flexibility in accomplishing the overarching mission of effect ev and expedient response and the ability to require action by a responsible party must be examined. while new legislation will not correct any of the ills of the bp deep water horizon spill, we can implement language, broader authority, stiffer penalty for lack of cooperation, including language that revokes the company's ability to operate under other permits if it is not compliant. while in all terms, making sure that production is not mutually exclusiv with safety. unfortunately, we have a collective unit of citizens and industry leaders cannot predict the next disaster. we can predict the next respond, we can predict the next worst-case scenario and preict
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legislation. finally the last insight is to localize the response process to better serve the impated victims. the shortes ditance between two lines is a straight line. the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. no one argue that is. we continue to set aside the scientific law as well as we develop and address local needs at a nationalized approach. while impacted citizens of st. bernhard parish continue to have less than 70% of the claims unsettled, it continued unfeathered. while i have no problem with an honest's day pay for honest day's work, i question the claims processing and payment thereof without a performance clause in favor of the victims. we we told claims processed through the feinberg was independent. that not true. we were told the clims would be easier to process at the local level in the feinberg plnt.
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that's not true. we were told the feinberg plant had greater flexibility and could address the victims regardless of the impact of bp. we have found this is also not true. i have met mr. feinberg and have no personal problem with him as an individual. i do not claim to know his business. but i do know that becau of the lack of ability to resolve claims at the local level, his program and process has been ineffective. st. bernhard has offered at no cost to the feinberg plant to assist him in identifying those that are likely to be questionable verus those who's local work history supports the need for assistance. a common tenant in the disast response is disasters are local. this is supported because the impact of disaster is most real for the individuals living or mourning through it. we would k that the local government and local involvement continue to be involved not only in the compensation process, but
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equally in the response and restoration phase of all disasters. thank you for allowing me to share my thoughts and thank you for keeping this issue at the forefront of this agenda. thank you. >> mr. williams. >> thank you, mr. chairman. on behalf of florida's 67 counties and more specifically our coastal and communities of northwest florida, i would like to thank the chairman and the committee members for the opportunity to address the house oversight and government reform committee this morning. before i begin my presentation to the committee, i would also like to take the opportunity and tell the chairman thank you for sending down two great staff members that saw first hands the things wthin my community and the state of florida, mr. gravel and hamilton, they created a special opportunity to create the experiences and tell the stories first han to -- firsand to the members of the committee. i'm here to tell you what we
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faced in the days and months in the deepwater oil spill. we cannot ignore the good intentions and herculean efforts by the federal and state response teams. even the responsible party that tried to do the best while facing the unique and global tragedy. however, as a lifelong florida resident and survival of 20 hurricanes, best efforts are not effort. the response is not just swift, but clear, organized, and collaborative for the communities impacted. there is no question that florida has the foremost disaster response team in our country and arguablythe world. with hurricane season the last six months, 20 storms, florida can ill afford anything but to be the best. yet inhe immediate aftermath of the deepwater horizon oil spill, or expert response teams were forced under the oil pollution act of 1990, rather than the tried and true federal stafford act.
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our emergency management was turned upsidedown, leaving the unified command structure that was established outside of florida altogether. for example, during the first critical weeks of the oil spill, individuals based in alabama who had never stepped food in gulf county or other panhandle counties of florida that were using ten year old area plan maps were making final decsions regarding how gulf beaches and all of florida beaches would be protected. local resources were ignored as strangers decided whether to place oil protection booms near beaches and sensitive environmental resources. to compound matter, unify command was limited and rarely consistent with day to day. leaving my county and all of florida counties in the dark and concerned that any preparation and response effort would be too little, too late. with little information coming from unified command, local communities were force to expend
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significant financial resources gearing up and preparing for potential events that could be quantified or predicted. this came at a time when florida was laying off employees due to the economy. yet it took more than four months to see reimbursement. faced with these challenges, our coastal county themselves under the umbrella florida association of counties to address a range concern as we evolve the response to recovery. while counies consistently met with state and federal officials, in most instances,
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>> we are having some technical the cold days. we will try to fix the program and get you back to it as soon as possible. -- we are having some technical difficulties.
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[technical difficulties] [no audio]
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>> we apologize for the technical difficulties. we are moving back to the concern on oil spilled recovery.
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there were counties that reusing 10-years old maps and making final decisions on how gulf beaches and all of the florida beaches would be protected. local expertise and resources were ignored as strangers decided whether to place of protection bones in sensitive environmental resources. to compound matters, communication was limited and really consistent from day to day leaving my county and all florida counties in the dark and concerned that any preparation
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in the response effort would be too little, too late. with little information coming from a unified command, local communities had to spend significant resources into gear up for events that could not be quantified. these came at a time when florida counties and the most governments were laying off employees and facing extreme budget shortfalls. yet, it took more than four months to begin a saying reimbursements. faced with these challenges, the coastal counties had to address a range of concerns as we've dealt with the recovery. but while we consistently met with state and government officials, in most instances of the role of the local communities were minimized. recommendations regarding what type of recovery structure would meet our needs were never specifically sought out. this story of is just a short list of priorities that i would like to call "lessons learned."
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i shared these in the hopes that congress will review them and develop a proposal so that future disasters have a clearer communication, strong collaboration, focusing on the local community come individuals, and the businesses directly impacted. we urge congress to evaluate the florida emergency response act which operates under the stafford act. why not take the best response plans in the world and use them as the foundation? the stafford act works because local communities are the first responders. the state government response to local needs and the federal responding to this date. it failed because this was a top-down approach rather than utilizing local resources. this lack of collaboration crated duplication and replication of all lefferts. -- of all efforts. we want congress to provide greater clarity with the
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process. the greater frustration for everyone involved in the private and public, were constant changes in the claims process. there were eight different applications within the first two months. the summer was almost over before businesses and individuals finally had a solid process. it would be our recommendation that costs associated with first responders such as prevention, protection, strategies, and cleanup should be clearly laid out in the stafford act and not held hostage by the responsible parties. in preparation for the next potentially event, a separate funding process should be founded and local process is not being delayed because of questions of financial capacity. in addition, loss of revenue claims by public entities should be included in the process that includes an independent third- party review. the parties should not have the leverage of the state and local
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communities concerning the economic issues, determining methodology, and a potential veto over certain claims. any independent, unbiased process should be established. we also ask congress to establish and approve the gulf coast recovery fund with 80% going directly to the restoration and recovery of the gulf coast region. i personally support and ask congress to support the recommendations of the secretary of navy pox report published in september last year. mr. chairman, we are committed to working with our federal partners and we appreciate the opportunity to be before you today. >> we are a partnership of three
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smaller marine towing companies that use tugboats in the gulf of mexico providing services in the oil and gas sector, primarily to when drilling rigs to and from various locations. we are located off the coast and employ 110 people. all limits korean has been lifted in the shallow water section was not to be impacted, substantially negative economic impacts have been felt an economic recovery is more distant now than ever before. this company used to move 25-30 rigs per month and now we do 10 or less due to the back of drilling permits being issued. on top of that, they're leaving because of the challenging with issuing drilling permits. we do not have term contracts and we work on a job to job basis.
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bp will not compensate companies like ours because they claim our economic losses are a result of the moratorium and not this bill. we have testified before the house resources committee and they testified that he felt as though the government was responsible as well for the blowout, but this administration continues to reflect as much light as they can on bp or anyone else that they can blame. $20 billion sounds good but grants us now relief. on forget -- unforgiving governmental agencies did not provide hope for us when it comes to addressing our economic issues. we have had layoffs because of this crisis because we maintain an optimistic view relative to the industry rebounding in a timely fashion. we have used lines of credit to offset shortcomings, but even
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that exercise has its threshold. the beginning of the tolerance laws that had been established have now been met. expectations for a timely recovery are lower than ever. our confidence in this administration, government, and its agencies are not what it used to be and we do not believe in any reasonable solutions in error near future. we recently reduced wages and have started a plan to begin releasing employees. we can no longer afford to subsidize unemployment and must enforce unpopular but necessary exercises. our maintenance schedules have also been modified and changed because the necessity to replace and/or overhaul machinery will no longer be necessary due to lack of use. factors such as caterpillar, general motors, and john deere will begin to feel the impact. therefore, states such as michigan and illinois will be
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feeling the slowdown as well as the rest of us. there are a variety of different items that could be identified, but this is the best example i could describe. we understand that precious lives were lost and an environmental disaster should not be ignored. however, there was a governmental agency. environmentally, the american government banned several administrations of the past 60 years have been ignored our environmental needs in this region. the louisiana coast from marshes, and wetlands are disappearing at astonishing rates, so our government has ignored more environmental issues including the macondo well. he claims to be offended by the term "permatorium." the administration, the government, its agencies, the
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media, and the press have done a good job of separating american people by creating political boundaries to satisfy political agendas. the truth of the matter is that america is more interwoven than what is being given credit for. we need our brothers and sisters in michigan, illinois, and they need us. americans all over this country depend on one another for a variety of different reasons and we should focus on that. this government is so broken and it is beginning to marlene -- vitally affect americans. it is your duty as stewards of the public to fix this. please do your best for the american people to put this nation back to work. thank you for the opportunity to be heard. >> thank you. >> chairman i said, ranking member, and members of the committee, i am pleased to speak with you today about the
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department the interiors challenges associated with managing federal oil and gas in the aftermath of the macondo oil spill. the part of the interior leases land for exploration and production. this provides a domestic source of energy, creates jobs, and raises revenues shared between federal state and tribal governments. revenue generated is one of the largest non-taxed sources of government funds totaling billions of dollars annually. the deadly explosion on board the deepwater horizon and the resulting oil spill emphasizes the importance of the interior permitting inspection process to ensure environmental safety. as found by the national commission on the bp-deepwater horizon oil spill, this was chronic of several individual miss steps by bp, halliburton, and transocean and government
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regulators lacked the technical expertise and resources to prevent. in recent years, the gao has evaluated many aspects of the interior management of federal oil and gas resources and we have found material resources in three broad areas and in 2011, they placed the interiors management on the high risk list. the department of the interior has been named -- unable to maintain reliable data and provide reasonable assurance that the public is receiving its fair share of oil and gas revenues. in recent years, the interior has not consistently met its agency goals for verifying that companies ror t o pruced in the government leases. it has been a panic -- unable to provide reasonable assurance that it was appropriately
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collecting royalties. secondly, the interior spaces longstanding problems in hiring, training, and retaining staff in oil and gas inspection and engineering positions. in addition to hampering verification efforts, these human capital challenges have caused the interior to be unable to meet these statutory and regulatory goals for providing inspections of oil and gas facilities. in may 2010, secretary salazar announced plans to reorganize the minerals management service into three bureaus. under this reorganization, offshore leasing, planning, permitting will be in the department of the ocean management. the beer and save the environmental enforcement and revenue collection by the newly created office of national resources revenue. organizational transformations are complex and require efforts
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of management and staff. the interior reorganization will be challenging because it is happening at a time when they're working to implement dozens of rules. the interior is still responding to the aftereffects of the macondo oil spill including implementing new practices and procedures for planning, permitting, and enforcement. the interior has stated that there will be increased levels of funding which of the difficult to achieve. it is essential that the interior gets this reorganization right. the must provide reasonable assurance that billions of dollars of revenues are properly assessed and collected and that oversight of all oil and gas activities maintains an opprobrium balance between efficiency and timeliness with
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operational safety. while the interior has already come a long way towards implementing organizational change and has responded to recommendations, it may require congressional attention to fully accomplished the goal of restructuring and improving the management of oil and gas resources. thank you and i will be happy to respond to any questions you may have. >> thank you. chairman issa, ranking member, and members of the committee, i am happy to be here to discuss the enforcement following the deepwater horizon oil spill in the gulf of mexico. these activities include putting in place regulatory reforms relating to improving exploration plans for permits to drill. those measures and the many other steps to have taken over the past year have been part of the response to the aftermath. as you know, aside from one grant program, we are not
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directly involved with the gulf coast efforts nor do we work with bp on their recovery efforts. this extends beyond my agency's jurisdiction and i will take those questions back to the departments of the interior to other agencies. we have devoted enormous efforts to put in place a new and necessary said of standards for safety in our offshore development program. these are some of the most extensive in u.s. history and require everything from well- designed, workplace safety, corporate accountability, and working to make sure that they can safely expand. over the past one year, multiple reviews have been advocating the need for change in our agency. the department of the interior inspector general, the safety oversight board, and members of
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the house and senate have all highlighted the need for reform in a way the department does business and the wave that operations are carried out offshore. many of the recommendations have validated the administrative actions and reforms to have an undertaking to promote safety and science. these changes were necessary and will insure that everyone works together to prevent an accident like the deepwater horizon from happening again. we have issued new regulations to bolster safety and enhance the evaluation and mitigation of environmental risk. the new drilling safety rules put in the tough standards for well-designed, safety, and blowout preventers including the requirement that the drilling process recertified by professional engineer. this role requires operators to develop comprehensive environmental programs to identify potential hazards for all phases of activity.
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there have also issued notices to lessees to provide guidance on existing legislation. the must have a well-specific blowout and a worst-case scenario to provide the assumptions and calculations behind those in areas. we have clarified that operators must certify to conduct the deliberations in compliance with all agency regulations including the new drilling safety rules. in addition, we have focused on the reorganization of leasing, regulation, and collecting revenues. this enhanced the potential for
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issues of conflicting interests. we are on track to complete reorganization by october 1st of this year. we continue to facilitate exploration by issuing permits and we continue to issue shallow water permits when it complies with heightened standards that apply to standard shallow water operation. the new operations include 55 licenses. seven are currently pending and seven need further information we have approved a 40 of these permits for 15 the unique wells
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since the industry demonstrated in february that they had developed sub-sea capabilities. 25 permits are pending in 25 have been returned to the operators. there's a category frequently ignored, deep water activities include water injection wells. this is the implementation and 40 have been approved. there are good reasons why the case is somewhat slower than in the past. new regulations are required operators to make sure their application to fully comply with the new requirements and in addition, engineers have had to work to insure compliance. this process may be frustrating to some in the industry, but the scientists report in the is appropriate in the best interest of this nation. in closing, we have made significant strides in reforming how this is carried
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out in the continental shelf. we have promoted safety and science in operations and because of the hard work of the industry, we have been issuing plans and permits and getting people back to work. i'm happy answer any questions you or the other members may have. >> the gentleman from texas is recognized for five minutes. >> the members of industry from our panel, i'd like to thank you for coming out and sharing your thoughts and concerns. i hope you will excuse me if i talk to the government regulator in our thinking maybe giving you some of the problems. you enter a lot of numbers really quick, and i want to make sure i have an adequate handle on them. you spoke about the pace that we are looking at.
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you say there are permits on 15 projects that have been issued since the moratorium has ended. is that correct? >> 4 deepwater welle activities that were prohibited under the moratorium, we have permitted 15 equal. there are multiple permits for individual wells which leads to the larger number. >> of those 15 and how many were in the process before the moratorium. >> it depends what you mean by "in the process." >> didn't follow the application and was just stuck on the shelf? >> a number of the carter on going but stopped by the moratorium, and then applications have to be resubmitted to make sure that they complied with the new safety regulations. crush the number i have is four or five that are actually knew that were not resubmitted or
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however you want to state. >> that is about right, but those are still progress that are ongoing that put people back to work of the dissolution between projects that have been previously submitted in a new project is quite irrelevant. >> if i have gotten a lease and wanted to drill a well, how long under the current process with this typically take assuming that i reasonable doubt my paperwork? >> that is a big assumption. one challenge we have seen is that they have frequently submitted plans that are incomplete and noncompliant and permit applications that are incomplete and noncompliant. we're working with the industry every day to try to eliminate the number of times we have to return either planned or permits so we can process them straight through and approve them.
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>> is this a result of the fact of new regulations that you are not sure what needs to be done? that is the complaint i am hearing from people line up in the industry. i am from corpus christi, texas, so we are big in drilling. they do not know what they need to do to satisfy your criteria. i understand that there are growing pains, but these are getting at two weeks prior to the deepwater horizon. >> before the enhanced safety regulations. they were being churned out quickly, and the new safety rules makes the process move more slowly. >> so now is it two months, six months? if you only have four new ones since february, it looks like we are looking at much longer. >> i can tell you, congressman, that if a fully compliant plan was submitted and a fully compliant applications to grow
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was submitted, we are talking about a few weeks. i take issue with the suggestion that the industry does not understand the requirements, because i think that they did. they did not understand them at the beginning, but i think they do now. >> will the gentleman yield? >> i will. >> with the same months ago when the moratorium was lifted that you had full and complete guidance available to those oil companies on that day? >> i do not think we had a full and complete guidance, but let me make something clear. >> that is all i wanted to ask. >> the new rules that it focused on were issued october 15th, so three days after the moratorium was lifted. that is what began the adjustment on costs, both for the industry and some extent for us. i just wanted to clarify the timeline. >> and the previously permitted
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the border wells? >> we do not track them that way. and number of them have not resubmitted application to come and we cannot do anything about that. we can only act on the applications that we have. >> said they did have a permit, and the goals changed, you move the goalposts, and they have to start over? >> it would not put it that way at all. one major obstacle is that they now have to demonstrate access to and the ability to deploy containment. i do not think you or i want anyone drilling in deep water that cannot show that. >> i am out of time, so if we get to another round, i do have a few more.
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[technical difficulties] >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. first of all, thank you all for your testimony. it has been extremely helpful. one of the things i say to my constituents is that this is our watch. we are on the earth now, and we have a duty to pass on a better environment than the one we found when we came upon this earth. i truly believe that. director, i was listening to governor barbour, and he said something that was very interesting. when i asked him about the department of interior drilling permit requirements, ntl 2010-
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n10, and this is talking about the moratorium. it says that these companies have to show that they have access to and can deploy service and sub-sea deployment that would be adequate to properly respond to a blowout. it kind of surprised me when governor said that the risk of what happens with the deepwater horizon was worth it when he considered the cost. i and stand. -- i understand. i understand how they get compensated. what is your opinion on that based on what you have been doing in the administration?
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>> yes, i do. i've been like to take issue with something that governor barbour said. he said it was the first event of its kind or anything close to it in the history of deep water drilling. the president's commission says that is not so. they cited the 79 incidents of loss of well control, which is what happened in the macondo, a loss of well control, between 1996-2009. another way to describe that is 79 and near misses. 79 almost the broader horizons -- 79 deepwater horizons. to say that the risk is one in 1 million or one in x,000 is inaccurate. we will never be able to reduce the risk to zero. we know that.
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you know that. we have to work constructively to be able to diminish those risks in a balanced way so that we do not impose an appropriately high costs on industries and and yet we do raise the bar on safety. we have done that. i think we have lowered the risk. my risk potential may be different than has, because i would not have been comfortable going forward without the strengthening of the safety rules. >> to put forth a requirement that all companies have a formal requirement to call on for services needed. let me quote the new requirement that says, "the agency will evaluate whether each operator has submitted information demonstrating it has access to and can deploy service and sub- sea containment that would be able to adequately deal with the blowout." can you explain in laymen's
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terms of what you now require companies to respond to blowouts before permits are issued. >> for the very reason he said in the questioning of the governor. we are all sick and that oil is flowing into the goal for 87 days during that trial and error process. finally after 87 days, it was capt. we do not want that to ever happen again. we want the industry to be prepared. the fact is that the containment requirement is critically important in the industry admits they were not ready with containment until the middle of february of this year. >> the temporary moratorium on the deepwater drilling was lifted in october, but you did not issue the first until february. why is that? >> there were not the
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containment systems and resources ready until the middle of february. in the first panel we talked about one company and there is another, the helix welle group. neither was ready, had tested its equipment until the middle of february this year. >> my time has expired. thank you. >> the gentleman from new hampshire for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i have one question for you, mr. brown which. -- mr. bromwich. in considering plans and permits, how much the of the that the economic impact and the loss of economic activity in considering the process by which your agency goes through? >> the individual plans and permits are reviewed by our field personnel in the gulf of mexico. i have no role in that. i do not think it would be appropriate for them to scrutinize plan applications are
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permit applications for any reason whether to determine whether or not they are complying with the applicable regulations. they do not come and they should not. >> so they do not? >> someone inspecting plans and permits should not do that. i want to move to mr. keith. thank you for coming. can you describe to mean very quickly the type of company you have than the average employee that you have? the kind of individual that you represent? >> we are in the tug boat business. we move drilling rigs for a a living. 80% of our employees are sailors. they are ordinary engineers, captains, mates, and the rest of the 20% our staff, and for
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maintenance people to personnel and administration. >> how many people are employed? >> approximately 110. >> has that number changed since the moratorium? >> we have had a few layoffs, but we have had to adjust wages on our employees come and we have threshold's that we are meeting where we know we will have to lay off people. >> so not only are you going to have to lay off people in the future but you have reduced salaries? >> yes, sir. >> for everyone? >> about 50%. >> and these are families that depend on that source of income. >> yes. as a matter of fact, three of -- offshoreies, towing is 3 companies.
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one of these was founded by my grandfather and i run that company as well. >> i assume it is safe to say you would like to see the economy grow and come back as quick as possible and you would like to see the government participate in a positive way to make that happen. >> yes, i would. >> thank you very much. thank you for being here. i also wanted to ask you a little bit about the economic impact. it seems to me here in washington, we are so focused on the regulatory side of this. there is good reason to be concerned about the regulatory environment. i do not think anyone disagrees that we wanted to have saved. we want to make sure this never happens again. i do not think that is a partisan issue. i think it just makes sense. it is good public policy. my concern is with the thousands
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of people who are-lane impacted for the long term -- who are negatively impacted in the long term. my heart goes out to each and every individual who does not have a job and is waiting for the possibility. i think we should consider that as we move forward in every public policy decision that we do. this does not mean that you provide a permit if it is not appropriate. it does not mean that you provide a permit to someone that is not capable of handling it, but i do think that we have a responsibility to consider the negative impact that have occurred to the regular everyday people that are desperately looking for employment. can you talk a little bit about how that is impacting people that you represent?
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>> you need to keep in mind that part of what happens is that there is a trickle down effect. a rig not being permitted the not just affect those people working on the reagan. in effect every other spinoff company had agency that provides support for that operation. that is where we really feel the effects in st. bernard parish and along the entire coastal louisiana region and beyond, as you have heard. the main issue that we want to make sure that the comprehensive impact is revered. we want safety, and certainly we did not want to have another disaster and such as the one we have experienced, but we definitely do not want to exacerbate that call to safety. >> thank you, mr. chairman.
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>> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you to the witnesses for being here. people who have long been concerned about the public welfare have raised some important questions about the aftermath of the bp oil spill disaster. some disturbing information has come to light regarding moneys spent during the efforts to recover from this bill. for example, from my home town, mr. gregory, who is here today, he and others brought to my attention some investigative articles written by "the washington post." these articles are worrying. they allege that some have profited from the bp oil spill disaster. these people apparently gamed
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the system to take money inappropriately that they earned the nickname "spill-ionaires." two of those people are here testifying on this panel. as a politician, i know what a delight to read a newspaper article about issues about which i am involved. i have had the experience of reading articles where i can recognize -- cannot recognize the events as described by reporters. i know how it can be sometimes for others in similar circumstances, and we do not always have an opportunity to respond to those articles. perhaps, sets the record straight. i feel duty bound to give you the opportunity here today to respond to those articles and
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what they have alleged that your conduct in the wake of the bp oil spill disaster. mr. taffaro, would you like to take a stab at it? >> it to give me a specific question, i would be glad to answer. >> sure. in both articles, in "the washington post close "it talks about contractors -- "the washington post" it talks about contractors and you implementing a 30-day emergency which allowed you to pick contractors outside of normal governmental procedure. one contractor was given --
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leasing the land at $1,700 per month and least of that land back to the people $1.10 million per month. is that accurate? >> i would be glad to respond to that. >> as you are under oath. you are required to speak truthfully. you are not required to ask questions outside of the spoke of this hearing. you may choose to answer, that would be true of any of the witnesses. if something is out said of the spoke -- scope of this meeting, there is the obligation to respond. >> i would be glad to. unfortunately, this is the concern that has been raised again and again. excuse my frankness, but a hatchet job, and i think if your
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staff researcher that information, there is no factual data to compensate or substantiate your comments. i declare disaster and a state of emergency. anyone who had involvement in the process would certainly see that as justifiable. as far as handing out contracts, st. bernard parish government, me as the chief elected official, signed one contract regarding the operations of the bp oil spill disaster. one. >> said the company owned by the st. bernard parish sheriff? >> that is not accurate, mr. congressman. >> what you has pointed out is exactly the problem with the way that operations were run. bp executives authorized
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representatives on the ground with a bp to initiate and negotiate land deals, vendor agreements, use of resources, and then changeup the personnel and not pay them what they were owed. that is a true economic impact of what we have going on. >> how about the selection of certain fisherman to help with the cleanup. what was the criteria to gets elected? >> fabrice selection process that we used to employ the exact individuals who were impacted by the spill, whose livelihoods overnight were ripped from them, who's the generational cultural identity overnight was ripped from them. every selection process, that was implemented and that in a public forum and was
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continuously reviewed and modified to make sure that those individuals who were most impacted were those people being put to work to respond to the disaster that was at no doing have their own. >> mr. williams, you may respond. >> congressman, i appreciate the question and it is very critical. i come from a county in the northwest florida with less than 20,000 people. we are a very small county and have an operating budget based on $9 million. i am glad we are here in an office of oversight and reform, because personally, not that i take offense because i appreciate the question, but i feel like it is a red herring for the issues we are here to address today. we were under a tremendous amount of pressure. i have two people in my emergency management problem --
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department. two. we have no guidance from the federal government and were put under tremendous strain. the article that you are referring to commend the author never came to my county, never stepped foot in my county. what you are indicating is that a girlfriend worked as a public information officer and she volunteered tremendously through the process. with all due respect, my scenario would be that you have to understand that i am proud of what we did, trying to put people to work together, amassing what we had, basically a militia of people trying to fight. i appreciate the question, but i think it is misleading to the ultimate goal that i will like to do and present for the federal government what you can do to help me at the local level. >> i am glad to have both responded in the way that you have and i appreciate your response. >> did your ethics board clear that action? >> thank you.
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before that was done, the board of county commissioners did not approve any of the contracts. this was done through the county administrator. we went through our legal counsel, to the state of florida at the commission, and to the governor's task force that was guiding that had asked for permission ahead of time to make sure it was there. i felt like the media certainly exploited the scenario to make it look bad for a lot of people who were doing the best they could and we're proud to work for their communities. i appreciate you giving me the opportunity, because we did it right. we stop profiteering and i served on the governor's task force. we saw companies coming in and asking for several hundred thousand dollars to manage these counties and we refused to do that. we asked for assistance and through the department of vernon -- emergency management, we worked under the premise to do the best we could under the circumstances. >> thank you for your response.
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>> i now recognize myself for five minutes. i am just old enough to remember the 1960's, but mark mccormack, the prolific writer, wrote "the terrible truth about lawyers" and "what they do not teach you in harvard business school." there is one quote that says " the problem is something that money cannot solve." if money was not the problem, and i assume it was available whether it was the $20 billion from bp, the $1 billion from the industry to form the quick response for future potential spills, etc., why did it take you not just the six months in the moratorium but essentially another many, many months of "permatorium" before -- have a
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new oil wells permitted again? >> i think it is fair to say that the border horizon was an earthquake through the industry. they acknowledge that. and after the government. i am answering your question. >> >> your agencies went on a rig that had two -- this oil well was like a drunken drivers swerving, crossing the line repeatedly, and mss did nothing. mms had a study backed in 2003 that questioned the block for vendors but did nothing but say pick one. all these things have occurred prior to that date.
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the oil industry made it clear that bp was a bad actor on this well and a bad actor in the gulf, but in fact, there was a reason their actions was not consistent with other drillers in the gulf. was it an earthquake with and your agency or within the oil industry? >> both. it is inappropriate to single ldp is the only bad actor here. that report, which was based on -- said halliburton and transocean were at fault. it true that the reorganization is as much a false in the delay?
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this is a distracted agency because it was a reorganization? ./ >> i think -- i cannot say it caused the delays. once they decided that companies needed to demonstrate the ability to contain a blowout that that was the binding constraint until then. >> and when was that request made? when was the starting date for that? >> i am going to have to differ. >> when was the starting date for the blog printe-- blowout preventer? >> two different things. >> if it failed, could contain it, when did you say they must prove they can contain, even if we clarify in writing on
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november 8? how long was that after the moratorium began? >> it was then a month per >> the first moratorium was put in place in may. >> you have a six month moratorium and a month after, then you say you have to do that. ins'sn't this taking six, seven months to decide you have one more way to stop the oil industry? wasn't that reckless to say to go -- to go it seven months and to say you miss something? >> no, i do not think it was reckless. nobody said it was midst of the the new. as you know, mr. chairman, they formed the marine well contained and in july. they knew there would be an obstacle to getting deep water
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permits. until they could put together their resources. it took helix a number of months, close to seven months from the time they recognize it needed to be done -- and they announced it, until they were ready to go. the mere fact we clarified what was required in november did not reflect any recklessness at all. >> are you still clarifying various things for the industry? >> of course. that is what regulator does. >> so when will it be clear? >> i think it is clear to 95% of the operators now. the other 5% as questions of us, we will clarify it for them. we need all the time, mr. chairman, with operators. we met this week with a group of gulf area operators, a delegation headed by the governor of natural resources for louisiana. they have been asking questions, asking for clarifications and getting them. >> mr. keith, i am sorry we
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cannot do more for you today, but we will not give up on this, on any of your testimony here today. mr. bromwich, you said you would take something back of it was outside of the mainstream. i want to make sure you take this back today. it is pending, current litigation in the eastern district of louisiana challenging seismic surveys in the gulf of mexico. our information is that the secretary has worked out to stay that case and is discussing a settlement. the question for the department of interior is, if you settle one more time with a radical environmental group that series and its settlement leading to regulatory changes or areas off- limits, don't you have a conflict of interest? shouldn't this case to be a case with a vestedse
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interest, state and oil companies, should have a seat at the table, rather than having a settlement bishop around what they would call their interest -- settlement of around what they would call their interest. >> i am involved in that matter. our characteristic as a radical environmental agency is not accurate. secondly, we have to make litigation judgments about whether to settle cases or not without going into the details of settlement discussions. there are some discussions on going. one of the goals of such settlement discussions is to prevent more radical injunctions or actions being taken by the court. with respect to the involvement of oil companies, they are intervenors, so they have a seat at the table. they are locked out if you settle. >> the nrdc has on their
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website, their litigation motive and meant it as part of their fundamental way of doing business. you may not consider the radical, but an organization that litigates in order to legislate an ad agency that settles to effectively create legislation is exactly what this committee is concerned about. so you may not consider them radical, you may not consider divorce settlement around the intervenors as somehow -- your settlement around the intervenors as somehow you have a conflict, but this organization is finding that conflict more and more consistent. i want to thank you all for your continued testimony. we now recognize the gentleman from north carolina, mr. mchenry, for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i think the witnesses. -- thank the witnesses. we have a question about the marine archaeologist role, the
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new world organization promulgated. is it true that operators for marine archaeologists -- >> they have to what? i did not hear what you said. >> i will repeat what i said. in context of the new archaeological assessment report, is it true that operators will have to employ the marine archaeologist to comply with this rule? >> they will have to have this survey conducted. they will have to do an archaeological survey, yes. >> why is that necessary? >> a number of discoveries have been made of shipwrecks and other structures that are protected by various federal laws, including the national environmental policy act. as we have eliminated the categorical exclusion zone with
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which we used to do exploration plans, and an hour doing environmental assessments, cite specific assessments, the way the process works is we have different subject matter experts that have to look at the issues. archaeologists willto adj not sign off without that kind of service. that is the reason. >> so in terms of what your organization does, does that have anything to do with safety? >> it has to do with protecting the environment, part of our mandate heard >> was there cost- benefit analysis? >> i'm not sure. >> ok, but you would be willing to follow up with the committee and give us your assessment of the cost and benefits of this regulation? >> i would be happy to. >> thank you. mr. williams, thank you for being here today. it is an interesting process before congress.
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in context with your experience, there is a difference between the opa and the -- act in terms of responsibilities. do you think that operating under opa was risible, proper, but it? was it a better outcome -- reasonable, proper, good? was it a better of come? >> they paralyzed as a local level. there were not trying to supplant opa with the stafforda act. we are trained it particularly in the state of florida, we were unable at the local level to make decisions firsthand. it has always been at the local level, under the unified command, the responsible party hijacked the entire process. we were basically at their
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mercy, their decision making. we were disconnected from our state partners and our federal partners. we actually call that unidentified command. we would wait for weeks and weeks trying to get things done. we wasted incredible amounts of time looking at boom strategies and area contingency plans that were extremely dysfunctional. there were antiquated. there was no span of control or unified command. the state of florida and the can handle was being controlled from mobile. of it was a breakdown from communications -- it was a breakdown from communication. it was completely broken . to answer your question emphatically, no, opa did not work at the ground or state level and i think it failed the folks in our country. >> this is a management problem clearly. >> yes, sir. >> your experience with storms is what? >> growing up in florida in
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camille in mississippi. i was elected since 2004-2005 . we crisscross our state with four hurricanes in oune year. a heavy damage, as an elected official i have watched a masterful process, and florida has mastered -- we know how to do it at the ground level. we make good decisions and work with our emergency management and state partners to make this critical online decisions. this process is dysfunctional and broke occurred >> stafford is a better? >> yes, sir. it give them the opportunity to make on the ground field decisions we can implement immediately. we have to go through an approval process. it is like go as your mom, though as your dad. i never could get a straight answer. it is a system that i think this group in congress has to look at.
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there are lessons in homeland securities. if we drill off cuba, china, etc., that is a responsible party scenario with our a responsible party, where would be be? one point i'd like to make. i came during the national association of counties and met with intergovernmental affairs and requested the ability for intergovernmental affairs and the administration to work with the directors of mercy management with and the five affected states so we could go back and look at case examples and what could we do better. that is very critical. i would ask the chairman and this commission review that so we can get down to our emergency management people can count -- at the county levels of this never happens again. >> we are not going to do a second round, but there will be a couple of quick comments. one from the gentleman from texas. one from the ranking member. >> thank you very much.
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do you think, mr. bromwich, do you think what is going on in the increased permitting process is driving up the price of gasoline at the pump? >> no ,i don't. >> you do not think there is a concerted effort going on to do that, with the slowdown in the gulf which is 1/4 of our domestic supply. >> by whom? >> i think this administration. i am typically not a black helicopter guy. if i were a speculator, i would be buying oil futures pared with a slowdown and the gulf, a slowdown of land uses a. we have this stage -- in the permian basin of texas. it is like we are trying to run gas prices up. >> i can speak to areas offshore. there is no such effort. there has never been any such effort. effort.


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