tv Tonight From Washington CSPAN May 11, 2010 8:00pm-11:00pm EDT
the doctors were sent for medical training first to the naval medical school on guam and central medical school in fiji in the early 1950's. dr. carl oost trained later in the decade and in hawaii in the 1970's. . the department of interior took over the united states responsibilities from the navy, in operating the establishment of the government of the cross territorial pacific islands, the capital of which was located on sigh pan. second, the residents of sigh pan witnessed the ground opening of a modern civil hospital built on a hill.
in 1960's and 1970's brought opportunities for the local doctors to obtain advanced training in guam and hawaii. joining the ranks of the northern mariana's first doctors and dentists in 192 -- 1972 were doctors who earned their degree in dentistry and medicine respectively from the fiji school. they returned to be of service to the people of the northern marianas, taking care of the dental and medical needs of the island community. the people of the northern mariana islands have the deepest precious, admiration and respect for our pioneer doctors and dentists, to those still living today and the memories of those who have passed on. may their compassion and dedication always be an example and inspire more of our young people to pursue a career in
health care. i thank you, madam speaker, and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: mr. paul of texas. the gentleman will be recognized for five minutes. mr. paul: i thank you, madam speaker. i rise to call attention to my colleagues of a vote that occurred in the other body today. the senator from louisiana offered an amendment to the financial reform package in the senate that was essentially -- it was exactly the same as 1207, h.r. 1207, which is audit the fed bill. and there was a vote on this and unfortunately there were only 37 senators that voted in favor of this audit the fed bill. this this is rather sad because it is already in the house version of the financial reform bill and in the house we have
319 co-sponsors of this bill. so it's a very well accepted bill by broad spectrum of both republicans and democrats. but the reason why this is so disturbing is because of the occurring events going on the financial markets. we are right now involved with bailing out europe and especially bailing out greece. we're doing this through the federal reserve. the federal reserve does this with currency swaps. and they do this by literally giving loans and guarantees to other central banks and they even give loans to governments. so this is placing the burden on the american taxpayers, not direct taxation, but by expanding the money supply. this is a tax on the american people because this will bring economic hardship to this country. and because we have been doing this for so many years, the economic hardship is already here. we've been suffering from it. but the problem comes that once
you have a system of money where you can create it out of thin air, there's no restraint whatsoever on the spending in the congress. and then the debt piles up and they get into debt problems as they are in greece and other countries in europe and how do they want to bail them snout with more debt. but what is -- out? with more debt. the federal reserve don't get the money authorized, they don't get the money appropriated, they just create it and they get involved in bailing out their friends that they have been doing for the last two years and now they're doing it in europe. so my contention is that they deserve oversight. actually, they deserve to be reined in where they can't be doing what they're doing. nationally we have to have some oversight and this is why this vote of only 37 senators willing to audit the federal reserve in a thorough manner and hold indemnify this check, which means that there were 62
senators that support the idea of maintaining a status quo with the fed and that they will still be able to make these loans to these foreign central banks. now what has this led to? it's led to tremendous pressure on the dollar. the dollar is the reserve currency of the world. we bail out all the banks and all the corporations, we've been doing this for the last couple of years to the tune of trillions of dollars and even today it looks like the dollar is strong on international exchange markets. people are frightened about what's happening throughout the world and they're buying treasury bills and they're buying dollars and holding dollars. but the real truth is, the dollar is very, very weak. because the only true measurement of the value of the currency is its relationship to gold. for 6,000 years gold has been the best measure of the value of a country's currency and in the 1970's we were very much aware of what was happening. our dollar was depreciated to
gold at 18% and it ushered in a whole decade of inflation. prices going up 15%, interest rates up to 21%. and in the last 10 years our dollar has been devalued 80% in terms of gold. that means literally that we have just printed way too much money. and right now we're just hanging on, the world is just hanging on to the fact that the dollar is still usable. but the whole problem is, our financial situation is no better in this country than around the world. there's just a greater trust in our dollar because we have a military machine and we have an economic -- we have economic growth in this country which is greater than others. but quite frankly it is quite weak. so we faced a very serious crisis. to me it's very unfortunate that we are not going to have this audit the fed bill passed in the senate. it hasn't passed in the house. possibly we can salvage this in
conference and make sure that this occurs. since the federal reserve is responsible for the business cycle for the inflation and all the problems we have, it is so vital that we stand up and say, you know, the time for us to assume the responsibility because it is the congress, under the constitution, that has been authorized to be responsible for the value of the currency. as a matter of fact, the constitution still says, it has not been amended, has not been changed, not pieces of paper, not computer entries. this can't work. it's not working very well, the world is starting to recognize this and i am really concerned about what is going to happen because a currency crisis is much worse than a financial crisis. we've just been through the financial crisis, we're in the midst of it but a currency crisis, which is on our doorstep, means that our dollar will be challenged. the speaker pro tempore: the
gentleman's time has expired. ms. ros-lehtinen from florida. the gentlelady's recognized for five minutes. ms. ros-lehtinen: thank you so much, madam speaker. i spoke recently of the urgent need for certain amendments to the securities investor protection act, in order to protect victims of ponzi schemes. under no circumstances, except splifty with a coked broker, should these suspecters were available for litigation. i'm prepared to propose such legislation. instead of representing the best interests of the victims, the madoff trustee is representing sipa against the right thing. let's help the people with the hope of retiring on his savings. i now want to address the need to provide such victims with tax
relief. tens of thousands of americans have lost their life savings because of the incompetence of the s.e.c. and its failure to close down the operations of bernard madoff, allen stanford and so many others. congress cannot ignore the fact that the biggest beneficiary of madoff and stanford crimes is the federal government. every year, even if investors did not take money out of madoff or stanford, they paid taxes on the supposed income from those investments. with respect to madoff, the reported income was short-term capital gains which was subject to the highest tax rate of our income tax and our internal revenue tax code. congressman bill pascrell has proposed legislation, h.r. 5058, providing some tax relief to the victims of these ponzi schemes. i strongly support this bill and i urge the house to pass this
bill as quickly as possible. senator schumer, along with 17 co-sponsors, has proposed a similar bill in the senate, senate bill 3166, which i also support. however, these bills need certain changes to strengthen them. with respect to the house bill there is a 10-year carryback for theft losses. under existing laws, taxpayers can utilize the theft laws for 20 years going forward. however, elderly investors who have lost all of their savings and don't work have no ability to utilize a theft loss going forward, thus giving these people a 10-year carryback is only fair. the senate bill proposes a six-year carryback which is insufficient. both the house and the senate bills give a theft loss for i.r.a. investors. however the house bill is more generous than the senate bill,
providing for a theft loss of up to $2 million whereas the senate bill limits the loss to $1.5 million. we have been infinitely generous to wall street, so it is long overdue to be fair to main street. finally, both bills are deficient because they preclude a theft law for investors whose retirement savings were in the 401-k plan or defined benefit pension plans or deferred profit sharing plans. congress should not discriminate against some investors based on the form of their retirement investments, all proved by federal tax law. therefore the bills in both houses must be amended to provide the same theft loss relief for all retirement plans, no matter how they are structured. congress has shown extraordinary generosity to the financial service industry in the past
years, despite the fact that these companies that make up this sector caused the global financial collapse, congress provided $400 billion of funding to them, with no strings attached. let us not nickel and dime wall street's victims, the taxpayers who lost their life savings because of the greed of wall street and the incompetence of the s.e.c. we're not seeking to make them whole, we're simply disgorging some of the fictitious profits that the government received in tax payments from the victims of these crimes. i thank -- i thank madam speaker for the time and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady yields back. mr. defazio from oregon. for what purpose does the gentleman from california rise? >> i rise to ask permission to address the house for five minutes, to revise and extends my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without
objection. mr. rohrabacher: madam speaker, i rise to express my concern over two critical national security issues. that being iran and the ongoing israeli-palestinian conflict. as far as iran, the extremist mullah leaders in that country continue to oppress and murder their own people. they, by providing armored-piercing weapons to terrorists, also are responsible for the death of hundreds if not thousands of american soldiers in both iraq and afghanistan. yet the iranian regime is being treated as a legitimate, if not democratic, government. they are not legitimate nor are they democratic. they are a radical islamic antiwestern dictatorship. we have long since pass the time when america should have been backing, verbally and otherwise, the iranian people's struggle to overthrow their radical islamic oppressors.
let the iranian people, with our blessings, rid themselves of this pariah regime. that would be the best option. but when it comes to the regime obtaining weapons, doing nothing to prevent it is not an option. if we won't do what's necessary ourselves, we should not get in the way of israel doing it. obviously israel will be the first nation threatened with devastation and destruction by a nuclear armed iranian mullah dictatorship. thus, if israel is willing to act and does so, it should not be viewed as an outrage, but it should be viewed with understanding and perhaps with a sense of relief. if other options fail, intelligence, logistic and political support for an israeli operation aimed at preventing the construction of a mullah a-bomb is in our interests, is
in the interest of peace and safety in that region, it is in the interest of all the people of the world. then there is of course the palestinian-israeli quagmire. but let us recognize when we're looking at that issue, there has been major progress over the last decade. israel has demonstrated -- -- has reached out to offer an olive branch to the palestinian people. they have embraced a two-state solution which they didn't do over 10 years ago. they have in fact withdrew their troops from lebanon and importantly israel has actual little bit given up control of gaza and substantial territory in the west bank. what did they get for it? thousands of missiles launched into israel itself. and when retaliating, they, of course, were condemned for a fight that they didn't even start. it's time for the palestinian
missile attacks to stop and for the palestinians to reciprocate for israel's tangible concessions in gaza and on the west bank. . to make it real, the palestinians must renounce what they call the right of return. the israelis have taken major steps. now it's time for the palestinians to move. and until the palestinians make recognizable steps forward as israelis have done, our government should not be urging israel to give up even more territory or condemning them for prodding the palestinians. for example, if the israeli innovation of apartment complexes in jerusalem gets the palestinians to realize that they can't wait forever because
israel is just going to move on unless the palestinians come out and try to reach an agreement, well, if it's got the palestinians to understand that and if they're going to act and step forward, thewill be widely condemned renovation of those apartment complexes in jerusalem and was actually something that furthered the cause of peace. to conclude, i urge the obama administration to change course before it's too late, to stand up to the iranian-islamic dictatorship. peace can't come by trying to prove how sincere we are or by holding hands with thugs hoping they will be impressed with our sincerity or condemning a nation that attacks for retaliating it is time to get real. when it comes to these two important foreign policy
challenges, it seems that wishful thinking and rational optimism are what is guiding america's foreign policy. thank you very much. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. under the speaker's announced policy of january 6, 2009, the gentleman from texas, mr. carter, is now recognized for 60 minutes as the designee of the minority leader.
mr. carter: madam speaker, speaker pelosi took the gavel of this house in january of 2007 and she made a promise to this house and this nation that the new democrat administration of this house would be the most honest, most open, most ethical congress in history and that she would drain the swamp and she said that in reference to what they had called the culture of corruption in the previous congress. barack obama said when he became president of the united states that he would put an end to the standards of one standard for powerful people and one for ordinary folks.
tonight, i'm asking the question , how is that swamp draining coming along, madam speaker? because the way i see it and the way we see it in the newspapers and on television and other sources these days is that we seem to be up to our eyeballs with alligators in this swamp and it seems to be oozing across the country. so how are we draining the swamp? that's the question that members of this house ought to be asking. i ask my colleagues, how are we doing draining this swamp, because it seems like there is an awful lot of strange animals wandering around this swamp and is spreading from coast to coast and we seem to be asking that question over and over.
i take the position and i will say it right now so it's very clear, accusations are just accusations until they are resolved by a competent finder of fact that will decide whether or not what is alleged is true and whether it be under the ethics rules or under the laws of the courts of this land, until a court has made a judgment or until the ethics committee of this house has made a judgment that there are still allegations. but these allegations are part of what's swimming around in this swamp. and that's why we need to ask, madam speaker, nancy pelosi, how you coming on draining that swamp? let's look into some of these things and see what we've got. let's go back to what the president said in february -- february 3 of 2009, president obama on cnn said, i campaigned
on changing washington and bottom-up politics. i don't want to send a message to the american people that there are two sets of standards, one for the powerful people and one for the ordinary folks who are working every day and paying their taxes. i think that was a very noble statement by the president of the united states. now the question is, how are we dog under the barack obama administration on making sure that there is not one set of standards for the powerful and another for the ordinary citizens. another visual here, the speaker of the house says, this leadership team will create the most honest, most open and most ethical congress in history. this was made by speaker-elect
nancy pelosi of california in a press release of november 16, 2006, after the democrats had won the majority in the house of representatives. and let's remember that since january 1, 2007, the democrats have been in charge and in the majority of this house of represtatives. so what am i talking about? well -- and i'm making this very clear because i do not want to treat people unfairly. these are allegations. some of them made in the press, some of them made in complaints to the ethics committee and some of them made by police, f.b.i. and others. all of this is stated in newspaper article, which we'll discuss. and that's just what theyr allegations. nobody's guilty in this country. we still have the rule of law. and we still believe that you have to be proved guilty.
and if it's in accordance beyond a reasonable doubt and i will defend that as long as i live. but the reputation of this congress was what the speaker of the house was speaking to when she said she want todd drain the swamp. she was accusing the republican party of having a swamp full of evil alligators that had broken rules and laws and she was going to clean them up and give us the most ethical, the most honest and most open congress in history. no more closed deals, no more special bargains, it was going to be out in the open, honest and ethical. and then we have these questions. so we'll give a quick outline and we'll go into some details. under barack obama and nancy pelosi, we could arguably say that we have had allegations of corruption that equally the
allegations in the teapot dome scandal. the latest scandal is eric massa, who has now resigned from this congress but it goes on to others. violations that are still unaddressed by charlie rangel, allege of tim geithner of tax cheating, mollohan, waters, visclosky, the violation of jefferson rules of order in this house and closed-door deals in conferences and bills brought without a chance to read them. that's not open and some would argue that's not ethical. but let's look. let's go back to what the president said. we aren't going to treat anybody differently because of who they are and how powerful they are. i'm sure he was probably talking about in one way some of this
wall street stuff that he's talking about now. but you know what? there is an awful lot of people that would say that the folks that sit in these chairs out here every day as far as the government, which right now is just about to be in control of over 50% of commerce in this country by owning an automobile company, which running the banks, wall street, putting together a health care plan that covers everybody and mandates everything in the world for everybody in this country and controls the health care system in this country, that -- these people that sit in these chairs are pretty darn powerful. some would argue that they are the most powerful people in this country, especially those in positions of power like the leadership of this house and chairmen of committees. let's look at one. and i know some people are tired
of hearing me talking about this, but mr. rangel has been under investigation now for at least 18 months because i have been talking about it for that long and it's actually longer than that. and one of the things that we brought up and we talked about is the fact that as chairman of the ways and means committee, he was treated differently than the ordinary person would be if they had the same kind of tax problems that he indicated to this house. and yet, he was treated differently and he was the most powerful person on the ways and means committee. he admitted to it underreporting income and assets in 2007 by more than half, including the failure to report his income from his caribbean resort property again. underreporting income and assets
by rangel's aides. rangel's lease of multiple rent-controlled apartments in harlem. rangel's use of a house parking spot for long-term storage of his car. failure to report and pay taxes on rental income on his resort villa in the dominican republic. an alleged quid pro quo trading legislative action in exchange for donations to a center named for rangel at the city of new york. a gift-rule violation on trips to the caribbean-sponsor by the carib news foundation. these are items currently under investigation and have been for 18 months by the ethics committee of this house. i have asked over and over and over of the ethics committee, please, please resolve these
issues one way or the other. but as i have said, these are allegations. but you know what? that's why the swamp water is rising. and guess what? american public isn't treated the same way mr. rangel is on their tax violations. they don't get to pay the back taxes with no penalties and interest, as mr. rangel did. that's one of those things that the president promised wasn't going to happen, but it did. that's one we have to think about. the president promised one thing, we got another. nancy pelosi promised ethical, honest and some of those things don't look ethical and they don't look honest. now, the president of the united states said to the senate and it was confirmed -- excuse me,
confirmed by the senate, department -- secretary of treasury geithner. and if you are talking about the financial woes of this country, the treasurer of ts country, the treasurer of the united states is certainly one of those people that the president is talking about, one of those people who is powerful, because he's in charge of the finances of this country and in charge of the value of our money, the insurance of our money, the national debt, all those things are his to take care of to make sure where we're going to report to us, to speak with other countries about the financial problems and the financial solutions of the world. he is the supposeman for our economy. . and yet by his own admission the ball street -- "wall street journal" says, tim geithner's tax history, he didn't pay social security and medicaid
taxes for several years. can i have a glass of water, please? the i.r.s. audited geithner in 2003 and 2004, he owed taxes and interest totaling $17,230. the i.r.s. waived the penalties. if you know anybody out there that has had to deal with the i.r.s. in this country, ask them if they got -- failing to pay $17,230, if penalties were waived on them. in fact, if you didn't pay your taxes and you got a permissible extension of your taxes, from april 15, which just passed just recently, you get ready to pay them in august or if you don't pay them in august and get another extension in october, take a look and see if the i.r.s. is going to waive the penalties for you failing to pay those things on april 15.
i'll tell you, i don't think they will. so, could it be that mr. geithner was given this privilege because he was one of those powerful that the president of the united states told us would no longer be treated differently than the ordinary people of this country? i think that's a question we have to, as the house, ask ourselves. are we really treating the powerful the same as we do the ordinary folks? i certainly think we need to resolve this and it's is he something we need to be seriously considering and by the way, i think the water in the swamp is rising. he used his child's time at an overnight camp in 2001, 2004 and twivene for tax deductions, sleepway camps don't qualify, according to the i.r.s. he recently filed a $4,334 in additional taxes and $1,232 in
interest for infractions including, a, retirement plan early withdrawal penalty, a, and improve small business deduction and expensing of utility quosts that were for personal use -- costs that were for personal yuse. the treasury secretary by the way, mr. geithner, is the overseer of the i.r.s. the same i.r.s. that waived the penalties that ordinary americans would pay for failure to pay their taxes. i think we have a right to ask the questions. is this what the president meant when he said they're not going to treat people that are powerful differently than people -- the ordinary people of this country? i think that point is one we need to continue to ask. and i think we are continuing to ask that. but, the water in the swamp keeps rising and what happened to the speaker of the house who
tolds she was going to have the most honest, open and ethical congress and drain the swamp? well, the swamp seems to continue to be filling up and thal gators are still swimming -- the alligators are still swimming around. one of the things that i think we at least ought to know about what's going on in this country is that we have created more czars to be special people with special salariesed to special things to this government than any in the entire history of russia had czars. , so there's a bill out there to sunset all these czars. by steve scalise.
and this would be the kind of thing that would be drained in the swamp because we created people to do the same job that we have cabinet secretaries doing. i mean, to me that's very bizarre. if you have a secretary of agriculture and an agriculture czar, what's the agriculture czar supposed to do? and we've got so many that i've lost count, it's somewhere in the 30's now, of czars we have. a czar is defined as someone who head as task force or council and is appointed by the president without the consent of the senate, accepted from the competitive service and does not have an existing removal date. in other words, he's there at the will of the president. appropriated funds can't be used to pay for salaries and expenses
of task forces or councils established by the president and headed by the czar. that's what this bill says. in other words, it's trying to put a curtailment on this czar program. now, why would i bring the czar program out as we're looking at the swamp? well, we're creating positions of power and paying big salaries to these positions of power to duplicate the duties and responsibilities of cabinet members of the president's cabinet and you have to ask the question, why? who are these people? is this a payback? is this treating the powerful different than the ordinary? is this open, honest and ethical? i don't know. i don't know. but the question needs to be asked, why do we have to have so many czars? and i defy anybody without
getting some kind of reference paper to look at to give a list of these powerful jobs that have been created in this congress by the -- for the -- i defy anybody in congress to give me a list off the top of their head. i don't think they can name two that are doing better than i can. these folks have top salaries, they have large staffs, they have big budgets and they're doing whonows what. but at least we know they must be promoting the agenda of the president of the united states because he's the only one who appointed them, ethe only one who approved them because they're not subject to approval by the senate as cabinet members are. and he's the only one seems to be able to take them out. so they must be doing his agenda. now, the question is, is that open?
could be honest, i don't know. is it ethical? i think we have the right to know when we have that many people doing that, i think it's a right we as american citizens have a right to ask, who are these people? and we've actually had some articles about some of them being community organizers and some of them having very radical positions, some of them actually resigned before they became a czar because their radical behavior was pointed out in the press. and it's not open, it might not be honest and it might not be ethical. we ought to be worried about the czars. now, i brought up to start with eric. you know, that things hit this town like a storm. just as a while back during the
republican administration the mark foley incident, where he made some statements to some young pages that were considered inappropriate, he resigned, he left the congress and the question was raised, what did the leadership of the republican house know about that incident and when it did they know it? and these were questions that were asked of the republican speaker of the house and asked of the majority leader and others. i think there's a question that needs to be asked, the minority leader of this house, john boehner, has asked it. the questions are being asked in several committees, i understand. what did speaker pelosi know about eric massa? those of you that don't know the story of eric massa, i'm not going to tell it, i'm going to
read to you a thing from the new york daily news d. it's an arled. f.b.i. joins in massa probe of sexual harassment, hush money and coverups. this is written april 22, 2010. the f.b.i. has joined the mushrooming investigations of sexual harassment, hush money and coverups allegedly involving former upstate representative eric massa, democrat for new york, and his male satisfiers. the bureau's entry into the case followed the announcement by the house ethics committee yesterday, is conducting its own investigation of how the office of house spear nancy pelosi, democrat from california, and others handled complaints against massa. massa's alleged tickling, groping and rarbes behavior at a gay bar with young staffers was
offensive, inappropriate and created a hostile work environment, the ethics committee said. in the chaos in massa's office, moneys and other payments may have been misappropriated or otherwise fraudulently or inproperly distributed or received, the committee said. massa resigned last month as the charges escalated. he maintained he is a salty guy whose gruff language and behavior may have been misjudged by his staff. the case entered a new phase when joe ricalto, his former chief of staff, disclosed he had filed a sexual harassment complaint against massa. he said he received a $40,000 check from massa's campaign fund shortly before massa resigned. through his lawyer, massa said he did not authorize the $40,000 payment alleging forgery might be involved.
is that what you meant by in the swamp, madam speaker? that seems to be very similar to what you were talking about when you made the statement, it was time for you and the democratic majority to start draining the swamp. well, as recently as april 22, 2010, at 4:00 -- this was filed at 4:00 in the morning, a newspaper sent out a news report about something that seemed to be a pretty nasty part of the swamp. so, let's look at -- we've talked about it, geithner treated differently, and you know what? didn't pay his taxes, he's the head tax man. rangel, head of the tax , didn't pay his taxes, didn't pay his
penalties and interests, and still has other things to answer for which haven't been answered for. sounds like that's got the water rising in the swamp also. and remember, we said we were going to start draining this swamp back in january of 2007 and the rangel investigation has gone on since 2008 and no end is in sight. and the ethics committee, although it has an -- has an equal number of republicans and democrats on it, is chaired by the majority party, the democratic party, and so it's the democrat's job to move that ethics -- democrats' job to move that ethics committee along. and to solve and start draining at least that part of the swamp. these things are difficult to talk about.
they're allegations and i'm going to say it again and again and again, we are blessed by a constitution of this united states and by the attitude of the american people that allegations are just allegations, they are alleging something happened but it has to be proven. and if it's under the ethics rules, it has to be proven to the satisfaction of the ethics committee, by the burdens of proof that they set forth. if it's set out in the court of law it involves criminal behavior, it has to be proved beyond a reasonable doubt, if it involves civil responsibility, i would argue that there are a couple of means by it, but the most typical is by a preponderance of the evidence, the greater weight, the degree of the evidence that proves such a matter. but there is abundant proof. when you allege something against somebody, whether you be a newspaperman or a member of congress like me, when you step up and say these things, they
should be taken just as it is and i believe that's why we continue to clarify. but when you stand up before the house and you accuse others and you say they've created a foul, stinking swamp that needs to be drained and you will heroically drain that swamp, then adding animals, plantlife and water to that swamp and raising the level to where it spreads coast-to-coast is certainly not draining the swamp and we should be aye at least able to discuss that matter in this house of representatives. . some of these things are very difficult to talk about. and that's why i want to repeat again and again, there are -- these are allegations.
to review, pelosi's action none on massa. obama and pelosi's action none to tim geithner. investigation of the ethics committee, none. the rest are still pending. reading an article from "the congressesally quarter." waters call tarps meeting for husband's banks. claim that she took appropriations from one united bank that received financial assistance. waters is a senior member of the financial services committee which oversees banking issues last year requested a meeting between the treasury department officials and representatives of minority-owned banks including one united on whose board, her husband had previously served and held stock in the bank.
that's just a small article. once again, there's more alligators in the swamp. and are we finding out as nancy pelosi promised she would do to have the most open, ethical and honest. there are ethical misbehaviors here. what has our speaker done? nothing. i certainly have heard nothing. i would like to know if anything has been done, but that ought to be at least part of draining the swamp, part of the most ethical, honest and open congress in the history of the country. "the detroit news," march 11, 2010, representative conyers avoids suing for embattled wife.
washington bureau, on a day his wife was front and center, representative john conyers, representative democrat was inside his office in the federal court house on wednesday and expressed an interest in attending his wife's hearing and advisers told him he shouldn't. conyers who chairs the house judiciary committee missed votes on the house floor for a second day in the row. conyers' office did not issue a staff -- a statement. this is from the internet. legal foundation files house ethics complaint against conyers. a conservative public interest law firm on monday filed a house ethics complaint against representative john conyers over a letter he wrote to the
environmental protection agency in 2007 allegedly tied to his wife, according to "the "washington times"." the landmark legal foundation filed the complaint saying conyers should respond to the allegations under oath. in a 2007 letter, conyers urged e.p.a. to accept a permit transfer request that would allow greek town businessman to resume operations of a hazardous waste injection well. consultant said last month that conyers' wife, former detroit city council woman go with him to a meeting in 2007, arranged a consulting contract for him and demanded $10,000 as a finder's fee. conyers wrote a letter to the e.p.a. reversing course from his
stance in 2003 when he joined representative john dingell in opposition to the well. in a statement issued last month to "the detroit free press," conyers defended the letter on the grounds he was representing his constituents and not clear whether he had any knowledge of his wife's ties. she resigned last month after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery in a separate incident involving a technology firm. those are allegations that are made in the state of michigan against thchairman of the chairman of the judiciary committee, which is the committee that has oversight over the rule of law, if nothing else. but everything legal. and many of them moral issues that come before this congress. it is a very important committee. and from these articles we see
that his wife has gotten in a lot of trouble for it. we need these things, these allegations resolved. we need to know if they're still in the swamp. we need to know if we're still draining the swamp. there are allegations in the "washington post." this is pretty long. i'm going to read some of it. "washington post," representative norman discs is about to go from mr. boeing to mr. spending, written -- norman dicks, about to go from mr. boeing to mr. spending. maybe this whole outsourcing
thing has gone too far. house democrats indicated that they have plans to contract out the federal government spending to boeing, specifically they are planning to outsource it to mr. boeing, representative norm dicks, a washington state lawmaker who has received tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from boeing sources and has by complete surprise directed tens of billions of dollars of government business to the military contractor. it's an article about the fact that mr. dicks is possibly going to be named as the chairman of the appropriations committee. this is an early allege and a question. but it's a question that before we go any farther that this part of the swamp needs to have some light put on it and we see where
there's smoke, there's fire and whether these allegations should be looked into. i think we have a duty to this house to drain the swamp. and if we're not going to drain the swamp as nancy pelosi promised, let's not make big noise and let's admit that, you know what? arguably these allegations and these whole list of things that are there -- this is kind of a collage of things. "new york daily news," "washington post", "congressesally quarterly, "roll call," "the hill," these are asking questions about the things i raised tonight. the real question is, are we running the most ethical, open
and honest congress in the history? are we? i think that the entire -- the vast majority, let's put it that way, of the american people have heard and understood the procedures that took place to pass the health care bill. the health care bill is now law, obamacare. and when we say open, we mean that we want things to be done out in the open, not in closed door sessions in the speaker's office but out here on the floor of the house and in the committees and subcommittees, open and obvious means we are going to do it so you can see it. let the sunshine in as the song goes, and let's see what's there. and yet, we look at how this
gigantic takeover of at least 1/6 of our nation's economy by the federal government was done behind closed doors in a massive bill that arrived at a point in time where no human being could have had a chance to look at it in any detail and was shoved down the throats of this congress and the american people. that's not open. that's not obvious. but more importantly, when you take the chair, as the speaker of the house, and you take on the rules of this house, both sides of the aisle respect in this building, thomas jefferson. thomas jefferson, the declaration of independence. wrote rules. and those rules have been followed pretty, pretty well, not all the time, but pretty well by this house.
greg walden, john culberson and brian baird have offered h. res. 554, three-day reading rule, which was one of the promises by the majority in this house that they would give at least 72 business hours before taking any action to allow you to read the bill, even if the bill happened to be 2,500 pages. you ought to get 72 hours. and this house resolution, this legislation must be available to members and the public for 72 business hours before taking action. requires the full text of the legislation and each committee report to be posted continuously on the internet. in writing the rules of the house, thomas jefferson said, bills should be publicly available for three days before voting.
and thomas jefferson had in mind what? open, obvious, ethical. honest. that's what he wanted it to be. one of our founding fathers, one of the most highly respected founding father, a writer of our declaration of independence, he said that every bill that came before this house, we ought to have three days to read it and i'm not sure that jefferson in his wildest imagination ever envisioned there would ever be a printed bill that would be 2,500 pages long, but even that, i think he intended for it, at least give somebody 72 hours to read it. and we haven't done that in this congress, not only on these massive bills, but on other bills that have come before the congress. it's rare that we see any bill
that comes before the congress that you get your hand on it. others will say to you, what are they complaining about? they did the same thing. aha. maybe so. but guess what? we promised we weren't going to do it that way anymore. and the speaker made that commitment. and the majority leader made that commitment and they promised it when they got control of this house. and they campaigned on it that they would give us the time to read the bills to know what's going on and that things would be open and that sunshine would fill the room as far as knowledge that various members of congress would have and it didn't happen. and it's not happening. once again, we have to ask the speaker, how's the swamp draining coming along, because that was one of the swamp facts that you talked about that you were going to fix.
how come it wasn't fix snd yeah, it's an important agenda. sure. and maybe you don't want people arguing with you about your important agenda, but that's not what was said or told to us when control of this house was turned over to the democrat party. and what results from that kind of thing trampling on house rules? these back-room deals that took place on cap and trade and health care, the failure to give the three-day reading time. what comes of it? let's look at the health care business? right now we have 22 states that have filed suit against the obamacare bill. they argue that the individual mandate and unfunded medicare mandates are the subject of that lawsuit and that we talked about before.
and it's certain people being treated one way and another group of people being treated another. and we have a lauit that's probably going to take us all the way to the supreme court of the united states to resolve it, which is the proper place to go. but it may being that it could have been resolved by this body if it had done, drain the swamp and be open, honest, ethical and do our work together. maybe we wouldn't have this problem. i don't know. i think i could make a pretty good argument that we wouldn't. i've just about ridden this horse long enough. i want to point out to you that for 18 months i've been on the
floor of this house almost once a week, i've really been talking about what i think everybody ought to be really, really concerned about in this country. and that is it is the duty and responsibility of every one who raises their right hands and takes that oath that we take in this body, to preserve, protect and defend the constitution and laws of the united states, and i took that oath as a member of the judiciary which included and of this state, that state being texas. at least those people that take that oath in this room, those people have the responsibility to do what our speaker told us we were going to do and create an open, honest and ethical congress. they have the responsibility to make sure the rules are followed and winning and losing shouldn't
be so important that you override what you promised you would do and what you swore under oath you would do or affirmed if you didn't believe you were taking an oath, i'm sure there were those in here that didn't. but i took an oath, so help me god i took an oath. and so i'm asking the question, are we willing to loosen up the glue that holds our government and our society together, the rule of law, that is, we can count on the law, we can count on the constitution, that it will prevail against personalities that may come along and try to interfere with it? because americans owe their sovereignty to a piece of paper, a rule of law, and not to an
individual. we don't swear an oath in this body to the president of the united stateor to the speaker of the house or to the secretary of the senate or to anybody other than to god and to the american people and to each other, that we will preserve, protect and defend the constitution of the united states. the glue that holds this society together. and when our speaker talked about draining the swamp, she was making allegations, many of which were resolved and some of which were not resolved, at the time the statement was made that needed to be addressed because there was a stinking swamp of misbehavior, she was alleging. and it hasn't been drained and not only hasn't it been drained but it seems to be a policy that we will win at all costs. therefore we will not give three days to read, we will do things
behind closed doors and we will had not be open and -- honest, even though we promised to. i'm going to get up here and say this until hopefully we change. and i will do my very best and i hope -- i have a confidence that everyone in here will do their very best. and then my colleagues, i hope they'll be reminded by the few little things i have to say and i'm certainly hoping all of them on both sides of the aisle will be reminded that consciouses will be touched and they will realize that the american people want to know what goes on in these halls, if you don't believe that look at the tea party people out there, they're not trying to start a revolution, they're trying to start an honest government. they want to know what's going on. what are you doing? we feel hopeless and helpless because we don't understand what's going on up there.
and you promised us open, honest, ethical. where is it? that's what we ought to be doing. that's what i'm doing up here. that's why i'm here tonight. i have the highest respect for every member of this body, any allegations made against the members of this congress should be rapidly and efficiently dealt with. and i hope these allegations will be proved unfounded. but to stand up and use campaign rhetoric about, i'm going to have an open, honest, ethical congress, i'm going to drain this nasty swamp, and then not do it, and not answer for it, it's something i'm going to continue to talk about. when the president says people who are powerful are not going to be treelted differently than other people, we have a duty to ask the question, why is that
going on? why do geithner and rangel get treated differently than me when i don't pay my taxes or you when you don't pay your taxes? are you just mispaying them on april 15 because you didn't get all your paperwork together, so you got to legal extension, you still pay penalties and interest. these are not hard questions to answer. these are questions that i think the american people have a right to know. because the american people want that glue that holds society together. they want the kind of country that we wrote about in our constitution. and as long as i think we've got questions to be answered, i'm going to be asking the questions. madam speaker, i thank you for your time, i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back.
operation on the deep water horizon drilling rig in the days and hours leading up to this catastrophic failure. bp is the integrated exploration company that was ultimately the primary operator of the well being drilled. transition ltd. was the operator of the drill being used. it is the primary contractor of rigs in the gulf of mexico. its representative on this panel is its chief executive officer. halliburton is the oil-field services provider that was subcontracted to provide and a
range of services on the deepwater horizon, including the cement casing on the portion that blew out. its representative is the chief health safety and environment officer. as i represented before, we are asking all witnesses to please be sworn in today. if each of you would please stand, raise your right hand, i will administer the oath. do you solemnly swear that the testimony you are about to give shelby the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth -- shall be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth? so stated. your statements will be part of the written record. we ask that each of you take five or six minutes to make the main points that you think we need to understand.
go right ahead. >> and thank you. members of the committee, i am the chairman and president of bp america. we have experienced a tragic series of events. three weeks ago tonight 11 people were lost in an explosion and a fire aboard the transitionwater -- a broad -- aboard the transocean deepwater horizon. my sympathy goes out to the families of those people, and to the people in the communities being affected. there is this deep and steadfast resolve to do all that we can to stop the leak, contain the spill, and minimize the damage suffered by the environment and
the people of the gulf coast. as a responsible party, under the oil pollution act, we will carry out our responsibility to mitigate the environmental and economic impacts of this incident. our efforts are part of a unified command that was established within hours of the accident and provides a structure for our work with the department of homeland security and interior, as well as defense, energy, osha and other agencies, as well as state and local governments. we are grateful for the involvement of president barack obama and members of his cabinet, and for the leadership, direct anion and support they he provided. we are also grateful to the communities of louisiana, texas and florida. i want to underscore that the
global resources of bp are committed to this effort, and have been from the outset. nothing is being scared. everyone understands the enormity of -- nothing is being scared. everyone understands the enormity of what -- nothing is being spared. everyone understands the enormity of what happened. digging out what happened and why it happened is a complex process. we are joined by the department of homeland security and the interior, and by investigations by congress. in addition, we are conducting an internal investigation, whose results we plan to share so that we can all learn from these terrible events. i want to be clear. it is inappropriate to draw any conclusion before the facts are known. as we speak, our investigation team is locating and analyzing
data, interviewing available witnesses, and revealing evidence. today, i think it is important to give you and the american public an idea of the questions we are asking. there are two key sets of questions here, and we are actively exploring both of them. first, what caused the explosive fire aboard the rig. second, why did the key failsafe mechanism failed to shut the well down and release of the rig. with respect to the first question, the key issue we are examining is the well. transition had responsibility for the safety of -- transocean had responsibility for the safety of the well.
we do not know exactly what happened. there were concerns about well control prior to the operation. through our investigation we have to learn more about what happened and what was done in the hours before the explosion. apart from looking at the causes of the explosion, we are also looking at why the failsafe did not work to seal the well and prevent an oil spill. clearly, this remained a critical piece of equipment throughout all operations to ensure well control up until the time the whale -- the well is sealed. we will continue full speed ahead with our investigation, keeping all lines of inquiry open, until we find out what happened and why. at the same time, we are fully engaged in efforts to respond to
these events. our attempt to stop the oil spill involves several strategies. we would like to stop or diminish the flow at the source. our attempts have proven unsuccessful so far. we are working on the containment system which would place a large contingent chambers atop the leaks and conduct flow to the surface. there have been technical challenges. engineers are now working to fix these challenges. we have begun to drill two relief wells. this operation could take approximately three months. a fourth effort release as a tube to inject a mixture of multi sized particles directly into the blowout preventers to cap the well. it is a proven industry
technique that has been used worldwide, but never in 5,000 ft. of water. about 300 response bustles -- responsive vessels have been mobilized. we are also attacking this bill area with biodegradable dispersants -- the spill area with biodegradable dispersant. the epa is carefully analyzing options for techniques we could for their use. to protect the shoreline, we are implementing what the coast guard has called the most massive shoreline protection effort ever staged. over 4000 volunteers have already been trained. we recognize that there are both environmental and economic impacts. bp will pay unnecessary cleanup costs and is committed to paying
for other losses and damages called -- caused by this sk pill. as tragic as this accident was, we must not lose sight of why bp and other energy companies were operating these drills in the gulf of mexico. bp and the entire energy industry are under no illusions about the challenge we face. we intend to do everything in our power to bring this well under control, to mitigate the environmental impact of the skill, and to address economic claims in a responsible manner. no resources available to us will be scared. i can assure you that we will learn from this terrible event and emerge from its stronger and safer. thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today. i would be happy to answer your questions. >> thank you.
>> members of the committee, i want to thank you for the opportunity to speak with you today. i am the executive officer of transocean limited. we have more than 18,000 employees worldwide. i am a petroleum engineer by training, and i have spent years working with and on the drill rigs. i have worked with this company for more than 15 years, and i am incredibly proud of the contributions we have made to the energy industry during that time. today, i am before you with a heavy heart. the last two weeks have been a time of great sadness and reflection for our company and for me personally. nothing is more important to me and to my company than the safety of our crew members. our hearts ache for the widows,
parents and children of the 11 crew members, including nine of our employees, who died in this explosion. these were exceptional men and women, and we are committed to doing everything we can to support their families as they struggle to cope with this tragedy. over the last few weeks we have also seen great acts of courage and kindness in our colleagues and in our community. that was embodied by the 115 crewmembers who were rescued from the rick rick -- rig and two are as worried about the safety of their colleagues as they were about their own safety. it has been shown by the medical professionals, family and friends who received the injured crew members when they arrived on short. it is embodied by our friends
and colleagues in transocean and across the industry who have rallied to help the families of those who were lost. this has been a very emotional time for all of us. it has also been a time of intense activity and efforts. immediately after the explosion, we began working with bp and unified command in the effort to stop the flow of oil from the well. our finest engineers and operational personnel have been working with bp to identify and pursue options for stopping the flow as soon as possible. our drilling rig is involved in drilling to the relief well. we're standing by to carry out unique oil recovery operations in the gulf. we will continue to support bp and a unified command in all of these efforts. at the same time, we have been
working hard to get to the bottom of the question that this committee and the american public want and deserve an answer to. what happened on the night of april 20th, and how do we assure the american public that it will not happen again? transocean has developed an independent investigative team to determine the cause of these events. it is current price of the industry experts. -- it is comprised of industry experts. they will interview people involved and study the equipment. because the drilling process is a collaborative effort among many different companies, contractors and subcontractors, the process of understanding what led to the april 28th explosion and how to prevent such an accident in the future must also be collaborative. our team is working side-by-side with others, including bp and
governmental agencies, and these investigative efforts will continue until we have satisfactory answers. while it is still too early to know exactly what happened on april 20th, it is still -- we do have some clues about the cause of the disaster. the most significant clue is that these events occurred after the well construction process was essentially complete. drilling had been finished on april 17th, and the well had been sealed with casing and cement. for that reason, the one thing we do know is that on that evening of april 20th, there was a sudden, a catastrophic failure of the cement, the casing or both. without a failure of one of those elements, the explosion could not have occurred. it is also clear that the drill crew had very little, if any, time to react. the initial indications of
trouble and the subsequent explosions were almost instantaneous. what caused that sudden, violent failure? was the will properly designed? were there problems with the casing or the seal assembly? wasn't the case in properly cemented and the well effectively -- was a the casing properly cemented and the well effectively sealed? did the surge blow and debris into the tubes that prevented them from stopping the pipe? these are critical questions that need to be answered in the coming weeks and months. until we know exactly what happened, we cannot determine how best to prevent such tragedies in the future. regardless of what the investigations uncovered, it is
our industry that must put safety first. we must do so for the sake of employees, for the sake of their families, and for the sake of people all over the world who use and enjoy and rely on our oceans and waterways. russ is again for the opportunity to speak today. -- thank you again for the opportunity to speak today. i am happy to answer any questions. >> thank you. >> members of the committee, thank you for inviting halliburton to testify. we will continue to work with you and your staff to collect the factual data that will enable an understanding of what took place and what we can collectively do to ensure that domestic oil and gas production is undertaken in the safest, most environmentally responsible manner possible. the catastrophic blow out and the spread of oil in the gulf of mexico are tragic events for
everyone. on behalf of the entire halliburton family, we extend our heartfelt sympathy to the families, the friends, and the colleagues of the 11 people lost their lives, and those who were injured in the tragedy. as you can appreciate, neither halliburton nor any other party can make a credible judgment about what happened until we are able to recreate the activities on the day of april 28th. in the absence of that information, we should not be making a rush to judgment. however, two things can be said for certain. the case was sealed some 20 hours prior to the incident. had things function as expected, this may not have occurred. for more than 90 years halliburton has provided a
variety of production and services to well owners throughout the life cycle of the reservoir. with respect to this well, we were contacted by the owners to perform a variety of services. these included cementing, directional drilling, and data delivery services for key personnel aboard the rig and onshore. since the blowout, halliburton has been working, at the direction of the well owner, to bring the well under control. this includes assistance in drilling one or more relief wells. at the outset, i need to emphasize that halliburton, as a service provider to the well owner, is bound to comply to be
well under's instructions. the construction of a deep water well is complicated and inform -- involves many tasks by many parties. the drilling contractor performs and directs much of the daily activity. the cement should be used to isolate formation fluid and to prevent movement of these fluids between formations and to bond the casing. there are many external factors which affect the design. these include the variability of the geometry and the hydrocarbon content, the placement of the casing, and the placement design.
these were implemented as directed by the well owner. there is a diagram attached to my prepared remarks. approximately 20 hours prior to the catastrophic loss of a well control, halliburton completed the cementing in accordance with the will program. following this, the casing seal assembly was set in accordance with accepted industry practice and as required by mms and as directed by the well owner. but test was then conducted to test the integrity of the casing strength. the results were reviewed by the well owner and a decision was made to proceed with the well program. next, there was a negative test
conducted by the drilling contractor at the instruction of the well under in accordance with compliance. halliburton was instructed to applied to real pressure during this test. after the test was completed, halliburton cementing personnel were placed on standby. we were asked to replace bud dent's fluid with lighter seawater -- a dense a fluid with lighter seawater. a final cement plug would have been installed and enabled temporary abandonment of the well. prior to this being done, the catastrophic incident occurred. as a result, the final plug was not set.
i am confident that the cementing was completed in compliance with the boehner's instructions. i look forward to your questions -- with the owners instructions. i look forward to your questions. >> we are halfway through a vote. we will plan to keep the hearing going. if senators want to go vote and then return to ask their questions, you are encouraged to do that. let me start with some questions. you said in one of your last statement that you proceeded to displace the riser with seawater prior to the planned placement of the final cement plug. is that standard operating
procedure? >> that is an operating procedure which is commonly used, yes. >> and there is no safety problem in doing that as a normal matter? >> what that effectively does is reduce the density of fluid in the rise term -- in in the riser. that is the primary issue associated with that process. >> i would have thought that you would want as much pressure in the well, downward pressure as possible until you had that plug in place. am i wrong about that? >> there is no question that it would have been reduced during the course of the process, but it is a process which is undertaken prior to the setting of the final cement plug.
>> let me ask a very general question about data. you make reference to the need to recreate the daily log of activities that occur on the rig. is all of the data that was available on the rick prior to the explosion, is all of that information, has been preserved? is it information that is being made available to the government investigators at this time? >> as i understand it, there is quite a bit of data that was located on a remote server from the rig. that it has been preserved. all data, everything that we can get our hands on to turn over is being turned over. >> is that your view as well? >> there would be some amount of
written data that would have been on the rig at the time of the event. obviously, that is no longer available to us. whatever was transferred electronically or sent into offices prior to the event is being preserved and provided to the government. >> did you have a remote server that was capturing this data away from the rig just as mr. mckay indicated bpd in -- bp did? >> and bp would have had data in real time. our data has some delay. our sequence of events and at 3:00 in the afternoon on april 20th. >> do you have all of that data preserved? >> yes, it has been preserved and is being made available as requested. >> one of the issues that is going to be focused on probably
when we have secretary salazar next week is whether there were efforts made to improve or to strengthen the safety requirements for this type of drilling operation that mms made that were not successful, that industry resisted. are there any aspect of this and that you are aware of, mr. mckay, where the mms was urging the additional safety precautions to be taken that the industry was not in compliance with? >> i am not aware of any. some people have referenced a letter that commented today mms about safety violations. we suggested the performance
standards should be set. companies should be made to adhere to those performance standards. we made recommendations on how we thought regulations could be made better, but we have not tried to slow down or limit safety regulations. >> mr. newman, do have any knowledge of circumstances where your company or industry more generally has been resistant to efforts by mms to impose stricter safety requirements? >> i would draw a distinction between discussions with regulatory authorities and regulation. we participate in those discussions when the areas or topic being discussed would have specific application to our business or where we have expertise that we could bear -- that we could bring to bear on those discussions. we stand until compliance of the current regulations. >> we also work closely with the
api and themms in developing -- and the mms in developing standards which were undertaken. >> i might as note that in reading through the testimony of each of the three of you, and this was alluded to by senator menendez, that he suggests that there is this transference of a liability or finger-pointing. i have stated that there is going to be plenty of time to try to figure out who is to blame and who is at fault. that will go on, and i think we appreciate and recognize that. you have suggested, mr. mckay, operatorhe owner and of the drill, the transocean,
you're not suggesting that liability is there, but you're transferring its. mr. newman, you are making sure it is not bp at all, and in fact we should be looking at things like casing and cementing. halliburton takes it all the way back around to the well owners here at bp. i would suggest to all three of you that we are all in this together. this incident is affecting -- it has impact on the development of our energy policy for this country. if we cannot continue to operate and convince people that we can perform safely, then and not only will be p not be out there, but to the transoceans will not be there to drill of the rigs, and halliburton will not be there to provide the cement. i want to ask you some questions
about what is happening right now. we have been watching with fascination this containment dome and whether it is going to work. it is not encouraging, and it is very disappointing too many who were hoping it would be able to contain some of that. we're now watching the ongoing drilling of the two relief wells, but recognize that is some time off. we are now discussing a cocktail, but that too is a couple of weeks off. in the meantime, we are not entirely certain how much oil is coming out on a daily basis. the issue with the dispersants, i would like to understand from you whether or not we have the supply of dispersant that we need, whether we're getting them out there, not only at the surface, but at the seabed in a manner that is aggressive. when the exxon valdez incident
happened, we delayed with some critics call -- critical methods that we could have used. i would like to think that there is not being any delay. can you give me some assurance that we are moving as aggressively as possible to break this up? >> to enter pretty quickly, we have two levels of disbursement though we are -- to answer pretty quickly, we have two levels of disbursement that we are using. >> do you have enough? >> yes. we have worked the supply chain so that our chemical supplier can supply seven 5,000 gal. per day sustainably. that should cover the amount --
can supply 75,000 gallons per day sustainably. that should cover the amount. bp is making sure the correct monitoring is in place. we hope to be getting approval pretty soon for further -- >> do you know if this is the first time that epa has done these testings at the deep water levels? >> i believe this is the first use of 5,000 ft., the first test at 5,000 ft.. >> it's done to me that we know that we need to utilize disbursements in the event of a spill, and yet we have not put in place the testing necessary. we've probably lost days here when we could have been acting while we wait for this testing to play out, which is more than just a little bit frustrating.
let me ask you, your written testimony which you have just repeated indicates that the final will plug was not yet placed prior to the blowout. this is contrary to certain media accounts out there. the question is, why is that significant, and i want to make was a welli am cleare, in fact cased and completed when the blowout occurred? >> if there are suddenly some conflicting reports in the media, i can confirm that the final plug was not set. as the discussed this morning, the concept of multiple barriers is important in any well. this would have been the final barrier before the well would have been temporarily suspended, as was the plan for completion.
>> i know that we have a vote that we have to get off to, but just one question. what kind of tests were conducted? what kind of made and logs were in place for the work on the well? logs have -- maintenance blog were in place for the work and the well? do we have all of that? >> we would have something called a temperature log or a cement bond blog. that is the only test that can really determine the strength. >> when is that typically conducted? >> that is conducted after two prior tests are conducted. the first is a positive pressure test which is conducted to test the integrity of the casing itself. the second test is a so-called
negative test, which is designed to test the integrity of the casing hani seals, or the seal assembly -- casing hangar seals, or the seal assembly. i cannot comment on the relation. >> why cannot comment? >> because we do not have the data. >> will you be able to gain the data? >> i believe that there is information available from our data stream on the negative test. >> is it fair to say that somebodyyhas that? >> it is not collected on our servers. i would have to defer to the gentleman. >> it would seem to me that we would want to know whether or not the tests were conducted and
what the results of those tests were. that seems to be pretty much keep to what could have taken place. >> i think that everyone is working very hard to make sure that the data is made available so that the reconstruction of events can take place, so the determinations can be -- >> do you two have the data? >> i have not had a chance to review the data. >> for do you believe you have it? >> i believe there should be some data from the servers, digital data. that will be a large part of the investigation to understand the sequence. >> we are going to take a short recess until we can return from these votes. we stand recessed a few minutes.
there did not seem to be an emergency plan in place to address how to deal with this bill once it happened. there is a lot of investigating -- how to deal with the spill want it actually happened. there is a lot of investigating into what happened, but once it happened, the containment dome seemed to be a plan that was not thought through in any significant way prior to the accident. i guess i would like to ask, what kind of measures has bp had in place to address this sort of a spill, and why did it take an actual spell before the company came up with the idea -- an actual spill before the company
came up with an idea for how to deal with it? >> spill responses have heretofore concentrated on dealing with oil at the circ surface. there has been a contingency plan that has worked conditionally well. the point you bring up is about intervention. we have not dealt with the situation like this before. obviously, it is a specifically difficult situation, 5,000 ft. of water. i think after this is under control and thought about in hindsight, there will be some ideas about how to make the response better. we are learning as we go.
it is something that needs to be looked at. >> how much research and development does your company to on the deep waters bills -- deep water spills? is this an area of any focus? can you quantify how much money is being spent on research and development in this area? >> i cannot quantify how much is being spent. >> are you at bp doing research in that area, how to respond to deep water spills? >> we're working very hard on our spill response. intervention is something that needs to be looked at further. >> and you? >> we are not currently engaged
in any research or development in regards to a deep water spille. >> halliburton's focus has been around intervention in the form of relief wells. >> are you aware of anyone in the industry who is researching how to handle a deep water spille? anybody at universities, for example? >> the question is, in a specific situation, we are dealing with fluids and depth of water that have not been debt -- and not been dealt with before in actuality. there are 160 companies working
on this as well as government agencies. i really do think that what we learn from here is going to impact the industry and how well we do this. >> i appreciate that, and i think we all understand the enormous response and the commitment that bp now has to respond to this accident. my question really is, should we not be more proactive about recognizing that when we are drilling at these depths, that despite all precautions, there is the potential for disaster, and therefore, we should have research under way that would show us how to respond in case of the disaster? you can take that as a statement rather than a question. >> i guess the normal routine is to go back and forth.
senator sessions? >> thank you. dealing with is exceedingly important. if we do not get this oil from off our shores, we will have to get oil that is produced off- shore somewhere else. it is important to the economy. it is important to jobs. it is important to our nation's ability to be competitive in the world marketplace, but it has to be done safely. maybe we have become a bit too complacent in the work that we are doing here. first, let me follow up. it is a bit odd to me that immediately after this blowout occurred and we began to see the leaks, the idea came that we
needed a containment think it could go over the leak -- thing that could go over the leak. but several weeks to construct. -- that took several weeks to construct. why is it that something like that wasn't already constructed, and those sorts of things already examined when you are dealing with a deep water? >> it is extremely hard to predict the specifics of the situation. the emergency system disconnect did not activate or released the
disconnect. that then impacts what type of solution we have to use to address the problem. this is a situation where we had a riser bend over the seabed. is impossible to predict that. the intervention we have been doing has been focused on trying to get the blowout preventer activated. >> always basically asking was, should you not have anticipated that these kind of things could occur, and that this kind of dam would be needed and have something already constructed? >> what i would say is that as
we learned from this incident, we will understand what type of capability -- it would have been difficult to have predicted what would have been needed. >> there was an article today about the removal of the mud. did bp direct that the reverse procedure would be undertaken and ask the middle management service to alter the normal requirements and to displace the mud before the plugging operation began? >> i have not read that article so i cannot comment directly. >> do you work for bp? >> i do. >> according to this, bp asked
permission from a middle management service to displace the mud before the final plugging operation had begun. mud weighs about 50% more than water. as the heavy mud was taken out and replaced by much lighter seawater, that is when the well blew up. that is what the workers said pierre >> i am not familiar with the individual procedure on the well. the investigation will look at the procedure, the directions, the decisions and the process but we used. but not under review of that yet. -- process that we used. i have not done a review of that yet. >> do you know whether bp made
that decision? >> because bp are the operators of the well and the permit holder and have the relationship with the mms, it there was a discussion about whether or not there was -- whether or not it was appropriate to proceed, that conversation would have taken place between bp and mms. >> i concur with that view. >> that is his view, but what do you know? >> we have no knowledge of that discussion, however if the discussion took place, bp would be the leaseholder. >> what knowledge do you have about the decision being made to remove the mud and replace it
with seawater? >> the only information we have is what i told you. >> but it is unusual, is it not? >> >> it was not utilized previously. 'm afraid i cannot tell you -- >> but it was not a normal procedure, yes or no? >> it has been used on multiple occasions in the gulf. >> hasn't been used on less than 10% of procedures? you are under oath. i am asking you a simple question. what percentage of times today removed and the mud before they finished the plug? is it less than 50%. >> i do not know.
>> you do not know? >> know. -- no. the responsibility for that decision lies between the leaseholder -- >> i did not ask you about that. do you know? >> i would not be able to quantify the percentage of wells. >> well, this article indicates that it is unusual. are you aware of any times that this has been done before? . .
and special meetings and requirements, did you not anticipate that this could happen? >> with respect to the applicable regulations which have to do in our case with specifically the blowout preventer, the regulations in the u.s. require two control stations on rate, and that deep water rise and there were three. -- ed deep water rights and -- deepwater horizon, there were three. the regulations require that
there be an independent means of activating, and in the case of that, in addition to manual operations from the raid, the b o p system was that out with two automatic systems and an intervention system. in terms of satisfying and exceeding the regulations with respect to the blowout preventer, we certainly complied. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> mr. mckay, there have been with bp a series of horrific accidents over a number of years. again and again major safety problems, problems that have resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars of fines paid by your company, several criminal charges, and in each case as far
as i can tell -- and i of look back to the texas city refinery, violations at the toledo refinery, failure to maintain a pipeline system on the north slope -- the company always says the same thing. and i want to have your reaction because we of all said that we understand the specific cause for the disaster is now known but this fits in my view of pattern of serious safety and environmental problems at bp. the company always says the same thing -- we are in nine -- we're going to toughen up standards and deal with risks. and then another such accident takes place and we have yet more finger-pointing. my question to you is -- why hasn't bp been able to change its corporate culture and and
this pattern of accidents? >> in 2005 and 2006, you mentioned some incidents that were serious, extremely serious. i believe that we are changing this company. it is being changed to its core. our ceo's in 2007 took over the reins with the single mantra of safety and operations. we are changing this country. we've put in management systems that are covering the world in a consistent and rigorous way. >> tell us what management systems you put in and that would have taken all possible precautions in this kind of problem? it seems to me -- i'm hearing about reports of various things that others in the industry are doing, various types of computer models and the like that they test. what specifically have you done to put in place changes that reduce the likelihood of these
times of accidents, that bp has a history of being involved in? >> i believe our operation and management system is as good as anyone. i cannot point to any deficiencies to point out to you. the investigation will be important in terms of something mess. i know of nothing that points me in that direction such as deficiencies in the operating system. >> and with respect to the changes that you put it into thousands the -- 2007, and i am looking at the comments from tony hayward, operations failed to meet our own standards. improved risk-management -- these are just quotes. you're telling me that you know of no deficiencies but i am still not clear what changes the company has made sense those comments from tony hayward. we know for a fact -- what is on
the record? we cannot pinpoint the cause of this disaster. everyone stipulates that. we know that there has been a pattern of problems at bp, and i am trying to get you to tell me what changes -- concrete changes have been implemented since tony hayward made that statement in 2007. >> several -- we have board level safety and normal and ethics audit that is very active. we have group organizational risk committees that have been installed by tony hayward at the very top. we had an operational management system that has been standardized and is being put in place in every single location in the world. i believe it is very rigorous and very complete. i will let knowledge that we have had issues and we have got to change some of the areas of the company. >> what has to change in the company? you say you have to make changes
at the company pared that is what i want to hear about. >> the operation and management systems we are installing everywhere in the world that are consistent and rigorous to a higher extent than they have been in some areas of the world. in the gulf of mexico -- in the gulf of mexico, we've been extremely safe. we have a tremendous track record of compliance. what i am telling you is that i am not aware of or seen deficiencies in the gulf of mexico system. >> and i am still not clear what changes have been made after tony heyward said that there were going to be changes made. >> it gets down to the culture of the company. >> insured does and the culture of this company has been one accident after another. >> we're not finished and we will never be finished. >> i will hold the record open at this point. i would like to see an itemized list of what actually has been change when tony heyward said that there were going to be changes. he told me there are no
deficiencies. i am not clear about the changes. >> center mendes. -- senator menendez. >> we are sitting in the room where the hearings were held in the sinking of the titanic. that ship was so technologically advanced that it could not sink. unfortunately despite these claims, but technological marvels ended in tragedy. when i looked at this tragedy, is not only the course of the loss of those lives which will amend and the enormous damage being done to the gulf region, but i looked at the peace response here. -- add vp's response here.
bp certified that it had "capability to respond to a worst case discharge resulting from the activities proposed in our exploration plan." what i see as a company not prepared to address the worse case scenario. a company that is flailing around trying whatever they think of next to try to deal with the worst case scenario that you all had the ability to do. you seem to be jumping from action to action, which we all hope and pray can work. that does not give me the sense of a plan that was ready to be implemented in the way -- in the worst-case scenario. is that not a fair conclusion? >> let me explain what we're doing. we have multiple parallel efforts at every level of this column -- crisis.
we're working on the blowout preventers. we have eight remote operated submarines around the blow out the better trying to get it to command. we're dealing with a unique and specific situation. we have aggressive spill response as part of the national contingency plan for the gulf and the bp response plan which i think works well. we're fighting aggressively offshore. we are skimming and protecting the shoreline with bones. we're prepared to clean up and deal with anything that gets to the shore. we're prepared to deal with the economic impact. >> i appreciate your let me of what you are attempting to do. once is more credible than the other. there was first that don't that you tried to lower over the spill.
-- the dome that you tried to lower over this bill. and then there is going to be good job shot, or tires and golf balls would be shot down the blowout preventer to claude the lead. i do not get the sense that you are truly prepared for what the certification you made to the other -- the interior department of a worst-case scenario. i get the sense that you are making things up as you go along. i know that my colleague asked you about liability questions and you said, all legitimate claims, that was your word? yes. and i do not get the sense that you are necessarily quantifying what a legitimate claim his or defining what a legitimate claim is. do you have a problem with raising the liability cap on the legislation that i propose to $10 billion? >> i have not had a chance to
look at any legislative proposals and understanding. of what you have $75 million liability cap. you say that you're going to pay all legitimate claims. i think it is reasonable to understand that $75 million is not going to reach the amount that is going to be conducted in damages here. do you have our problem -- urine $5.6 billion in the last quarter alone. do you and the industry have a problem with the $10 billion cap? >> i cannot comment on the legislation. i can comment on -- we're going to pay all legitimate claims. $75 million does not come into account. we have been clear in every instance that we can about the spirit of lawyers are you going to shift those legitimate claims to the liability when you talk about deepwater horizon and they talk about halliburton, will
this be a liability chase were all of those people harmed are going have to wait and file and do what they did with the exxon valdez, is that what you intend to do? >> we've made it clear that we're going to deal with the people and communities affected directly. >> deepwater horizon received a categorical exclusion from the process last year. why would this rig not require the important legislation? how could this inherently dangerous activity not go through the process? >> the exclusion you are referring to is essentially when the lease sale is done, the anbar metals state -- impact statement goes with the sale. then there are estimates done within the areas of that lease sale.
those of four wells that were drilled in that area and that is what we use and that is a common industry practice. it is mms regulated. >> i have further questions and i will submit them for the record. >> senator udall. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. newman, i want to direct a question your way. i've heard reports that your workers were instructed to sign waivers as soon as they return to shore and in some cases before they were able to see their families. for employees given opportunity to consult with their doctors or lawyers before signing these waivers? i have a copy of one of them here and i ask that it be entered in the record. >> we will put that in the record. >> if so, why was there rush year? this certainly has me concerned
and other members as well. >> if i could put that question in the context, and immediately after the disaster happened on the rig, we mobilized a dream -- a team of people to make -- to louisiana to begin preparations for the arrival on shore of those crew members. that preparation included providing them with clothing, because many of them were awakened from their beds when the explosion happened. it included providing them with food and water. it included providing them with medical care, because they had left the rig under such extreme circumstances. many did not have identification with them. it included consultation to make sure that those crew members who were put on planes the following day to reunite with their families, that they would have no identification issues with the tsa at the airport. it included a preliminary
gathering of facts and the statement you are referring to is an exercise in our attempt to facilitate that. we ask our workers if they had any information related to the cause of the event, and we ask our workers if they were injured. i do not think it is appropriate to characterize the statements as waivers. >> we will leave that judgment as the investigation unfolds. it has certainly left a sour taste in many people's mouths. the question was of deepwater horizon, whether it was to support the workers or deepwater horizon from potential liability. i know that each of you are conducting your own investigations. i am curious whether the results and the analysis as well as any testimony you generate in your company, will that be available to the federal government and
the congress? mr. mckay, a start with you. >> yes, it will. >> i think that this has such an impact on our business and our industry that it behooves us to share everything we can with respect to understanding exactly what happened, so that we can prevent it from ever happening again. >> similarly, i would add that we will share in the affirmation and hopefully use it as a basis for insuring that the industry is safe and the environment is sound. we look for to that in the future. >> if i might with the final question directed to all three, i had the great honor to chair the subcommittee in the house of space aeronautics, so i am familiar with working in the extreme difficult conditions like nasa were sen. nasa has had its share of disasters and experiences emphasizing that accidents,
about you and barbara heat -- few and far between, does not make them any less tragic. it seems unfathomable to me that we did not have any technological improvements in spill container technology since the exxon valdez more than 20 years ago. we seem to be using 20th-century technology to respond to what has happened. again i welcome your comments from all three of you. >> i think the improvements are in deployment and usage of some of the technology, as well as what we were talking about earlier one new potential technology that can be effective and used a lot less dispersal for the impact. i think there is quite a bit of new technology being used. >> under the provisions of the international maritime organization, which we are
obligated to comply with because we operate marine assets, every one of our rigs is required to have a pollution plan which deals with the chemicals and materials that we use on rig, such as diesel for our injuns, cleaning products, and things like that. we work very closely with the providers of these materials to ensure that our shipboard pollution plans are as robust and comprehensive as possible to deal with materials we have on our rigs. >> mr. provost? >> our primary focus has been intervention that may be challenged as a result of some kind of control issue. that is where most of our technological efforts are focused on three >> i know senator shaheen asked a similar question and her understanding and mine was that no one has
done any research to address deep water spills. i think that is something that stands out as something that needs to be pursued in the short term and immediately. >> senator campbell. >> i want the follow up on -- my colleague senator andlandrieu's question. i understand you stated you would pay all viable claims. what are viable claims? are you talking about all legal standard if you were found with gross negligence and a case? >> we want to be very responsive and directed the claims with people and businesses that are affected. we have been clear that we will stand behind that. we have that as our intent. the only way we say legitimate claims is that claims have to have some basis in substantiation.
we've been clear about the $75 million, that that will not be a limit for this record -- for this. yesterday's was closing on 1000 claims. mostly fishermen who are out of work, people who do not have cash to make ends meet because they are out of work, and that is what we're trying to concentrate on right now. i think we're being very responsive with that and we have to make sure that we keep getting better and better at it. but so far i think we've met the local needs. >> how are you determining a viable claim? i am assuming a lot of the discussion this morning or it sounds light -- it sounds like bp has said may be the fault lies with the rig operators and improper cementing by halliburton, and halliburton saying transocean may not have properly operated the drill. is that an ongoing part of the
discussion? or are you saying in a legitimate claim in this incident will be paid by bp? >> liability, blame, fault -- that is over here. we are the response of party. our obligation is to deal if this bill, clean it up, and make sure the impact of that spill is compensated. and we are going to do that. >> no matter if that is $14 billion? >> i will not speculate on the numbers. every legitimate claim the full resources of bp are behind. >> there have been judgments that it could be as high as $14 billion. are you saying that the people pay all claims? >> we will pay all legitimate claims, yes. >> mr. chairman, i think that is the question before us. this is a panel and discussion about how we're going to move
forward from this and i think it reminds me in this very hearing, you have this room for big investigative hearings, and the last time i was in here, the challenger blew up and we had a discussion about the fall behind the challenger system. we found out that there were system failures. yes, there was a freezing of the temperature and the o ring but there were many other problems that led to dead. and i think that is what we're going to find here as well, that there is too cozy a relationship with mms and the oversight within the industry and the various things by colleagues have been talking about with the blowout preventers and other things. there is much more oversight and detailed that needs to be made here. i think the question that is going to remain is how we are going to clean up $14 billion of oil spill or whenever the number is, and that we really have an accounting here of how that is going to work. we have to move forward with
preserving that area. mr. newman, i do not know if you have any comments about that, because i definitely feel the case for defense is being built here this morning. >> i guess i would agree with the way mr. mckay has characterized it. liability and culpability and altman responsibility for the events that resulted in the incident or one thing, and responding to the economic impact of the event is another thing. i think the way the senator explained it coincide with my understanding which is as police operating -- police operator and a well honor, that falls on pp. -- lease operator and the well owner, that falls on bp. >> there needs to be a safer environment to develop oil and
gas resources. it is in the interest of all of us, the nation's energy security, that we learn from this and continue to take those learning and build them into our future operating procedures and technologies. >> 41 opinion, what i've learned from this situation is time for us to diversify of oil. thank you, mr. chairman. >> you wish to put something in the record. >> i just have some documentation about the value of the louisiana seafood industry which is more than $3.4 billion. i want to put that in the record. >> i think all senators have had a chance to rest around of questions. let me now start on the second round. senator murkowski, did you have questions? >> i will be very brief, mr. chairman. mr. mckay, there was an associated press article the
referenced -- that reference of comprehensive blow out a plan for the deepwater horizon. the article states that bp had not filed a specific comprehensive blow out volume -- plan. it indicated that it was not required to file because it got trigger certain conditions triggered in the mms report. the article goes on to speculate that if there had been on site- specific plan, it would help to facilitate a quicker response. can you comment on this? was there in fact an exemption? did you file a side-specific comprehensive blowout plan? >> in reference to the exclusion
granted by nss -- mms for specific wells in the area, when the sale is conducted an environmental impact statement is done, and extensive anbar most study, then there are brit in formal assessments in areas within that lease sale. that environmental assessment is utilized as the informal assessment for internal wells and you apply for an exclusion because they are already done. that is what they did. that is an industry practice and in assess practice. -- and mms practice $3 would it have help bp, transocean, halliburton in this instance had there been a specific plan? >> i do not think it is called aid blowout prevention plan.
>> i am going off of an ap article. i apologize. >> we filed our scenario around as well and the anbar mall assessments that were done, impact to spill response plans, those are clear and very extensive. i do not think the individual well location within an area of an informal assessment would have been any different. i do not know that for a fact but that is what i believe. >> you maintain because mms did not require this, there was no necessity for bp's part in doing anything? >> i do not believe so. i think we were under the standard and practice. >> the same question to all three -- given where we are after this incident, had you ordered any additional safety measures or modify procedures for operation outside the u.s. based on this incident?
>> yes, we of requested that all of bair -- -- we have requested that all of our rig modifications that may of been made to a blowout preventers, we have instituted some incremental testing on a blowout preventers worldwide, and sent notices to all of our businesses worldwide that are doing deep water drilling, and we have communicated with mms everything we understand about that. they are incorporating what we are learning here into new testing -- i do not know what will come out, but new ideas around how to ensure safety around these incidents. >> the you have any reason to believe that the deepwater horizon gop was modified? -- bop was modified? >> we do have reason to believe
that they were modified. i do not know the extensive -- the extent of that modification $3 assuming there were any modifications, would they have been verified? >> they were notified and never performed in 2005. that were done at b's request and that bp's expense. >> what were those modifications? >> as i mentioned in a comment earlier, bop on the deepwater horizon is fitted with five lem from vendors on the rig. -- preventers on the rig. one preventer to test ramp. it allowed for more efficient testing for the bop. >> while with that my face it -- modification have been requested? >> testing and perhaps the well
construction process. it has an impact on the efficiency of the operation. to the extent that we can make the process more efficient, it has clear benefits in terms of the overall time required to drill the well. >> have you ever done such a modification? >> yes, ma'am. >> multiple times? is this standard one deeper water wells? >> on rigs that have blowout preventers that are prevented -- fitted with a number of ram the vendors that exceed requirements, we have converted rams boto bop's. >> have there been any incidents? >> no incidents related to that modification. >> let me ask you the same question. within your interest outside the
united states, you requested any additional safety measures or modification procedures as a result of this incident? >> we operate a consistent standard of policies and procedures, maintenance practices, and operating practices across the transocean lead throughout the world. in the aftermath of this incident, until we find out what may of contributed to the cause of events, we have not changed any of that standard transocean system of policies and procedures are around the world. >> other than to alert our organization around the world to this incident, firstly, and secondly we operate with a standard set of procedures. it is certainly our expectation that as we learn from this and didn't, there will may well be some changes in the process and procedures or other approaches which we would then implement as part of the global standard. the way on the findings of the
analysis of the reports of this incident. -- that will wait on the finding of the analysis of the reports of this incident $3 let me ask this question. one of the issues the first panel talked about was the known limitations on the ability of these share ram sheer rms to function under these circumstances, whether there were joints and the drill shout, that they are expected to cut, that sort of thing. do you agree that the sheer ram cannot cut the stool joints these -- cannot cut these tool joints? and is that not a severe design
flaw? public there are several drills that the sheer rams are incapable of sharearing? >> i do not support the contention that that is a design flaw because the industry recognizes those implementations and are strict operating procedures in place to account for the inability of the shear rams to ashear every tool. >> they would apply to every proceed -- every personnel operating under that bop? >> they understand what those operating procedures are free billboard do you believe that they were following them in that case chris des moines >> i do. >> even though the proper operating procedures were followed, the failure of the shear rms to stop the explosion
from occurring, it is not a problem with the design of bop, not a problem with the wavy bop was operated, or managed? how do you explain the fact that this bop was not able to prevent this blow out? >> the operating procedures i referred to earlier were applied to the process these our people used when they are manipulating pike in the bop or through the bop. running drill pipe sat down to the bottom to put the drill bit on the bottom of the bolt to continue to drill, pulling that drill bit back up through the bop, running casing down through the bop to progress at casing operation, the operating procedures i am referring to
that our people were following relate to situations where our people are in control of the pipe that is going through the block. >> that were not in control of the time that this accident occurred? >> without knowing today senator what is behalf -- inside the bop, it is entirely possible that there is material inside the bop that would have come from well bore, not from the transocean people on the rig. >> from the well itself. >> yes, sir. >> let me go ahead. >> let me put an additional information into the record. i think it will be important. the commercial fishermen in the gulf of mexico harvested 1.2 7 million pounds of fish and shellfish, and generating $69 million in revenue. 68% of our commercial arguses
from the gulf of mexico. that is one industry at risk. both have been pushed into slips and harbors, unable to operate. the amount of economic damage continues to mount. i am encouraged by what you say, that there will be no limit to true economic damage, because it will be substantial, whether it is $14 billion or something up to that map, we do not know. it is important that the gulf coast, for the people of the gulf coast, from florida all the way over to texas, to know that bp and the operators will be there to protect their economic interests. we want to make sure that the government agencies like the small business administration, like commerce, like other industries can step up and help us do this difficult time. but because my eyes are leaning forward even despite the fact that, i want to ask a question
about all tread deep drilling. -- ultra deep drilling. there are currently 120 ultra deep sites drilling today. is that correct? that is my information. do any of you dispute that? ok. awesomely 120 drilled as we speak. -- approximately 120 drilled as we speak will be required internationally to make sure that this does not happen. the requirements that you say you exceeded that mms requires for the deep water drilling, are our requirements the highest internationally, or are there other nations that require higher safety standard them what mms requires of us to do this type of exploration and production? >> the regulatory regime that we
operate around the world, and we operate in about 30 countries. they very from very minimal to quite stringent. i would characterize the u.s. has closer to the end of being quite stringent in terms of very well described rolls. -- but we're not the most skirt -- stringent. >> i think there are aspects of the regulatory regime in places like the u.k. and norway that might be characterized as being more stringent than the u.s.. the board you are also testifying that there are some places where the regulations could be quite collapse. bridging lax -- you are also testifying that there are some places were the regulations could be quite lax $3 some operating practices are consistent throughout the world regardless of the regulatory environment we're operating in.
>> you would say that the requirements -- and we have a great deal of responsibility in this subcommittee -- you would say that the standards that we promote in this committee and here in this congress has international implications because what we require you to drill in the gulf, you normally would follow those around the world. it is important for us to get this right. would you say that is true or not? >> because of the opportunity that the administration and the congress have to influence the way things are done in the u.s., it does have international implications. >> let me ask you this, mr. newman. your company just recently acquired another drilling operator which i think caused you been to become the world's largest. my question that some of my constituents might be thinking, are you too large to be safe? what kind of parameters are in place -- and you said, mr.
mckay, you've acquired other companies to be a quite large operator. what would you say, mr. newman, to give us confidence that with this most recent acquisition, did you double your safety operators? could you comment about that? >> europe concerning -- the combination that took place in november 2007. the combination of those companies in the integration of such a large work force, i think, in hindsight it went extremely well. i think that was due in large part to the strong operating cultures and strong safety culture that both of those organizations had. both organizations prided themselves on the focus of safety, a focus on customer satisfaction, and a focus on quality and performance of our
drilling equipment. so i do not think it had an impact on our ability to operate safely -- safely. >> and this committee has to give some focus on emerging on some of these companies and to the extent in which they operate to make sure that they have consistent policies throughout. thank you. >> senator sessions. >> the follow up a bit on the removal of the mud, the wall street journal today says that it is common practice to for wet cement down into the pipe. the wet cement which is heavier than the drilling mud sinks down through the drilling mud. the mud is then removed after the plug is in place. in this case, a decision was made shortly before the explosion to perform the
remaining task in reverse order. which is to take the money out first. but the chairman of the department of petroleum engineering at texas tech agrees that this is an unusual approach because normally you would not evacuate the pipe from the sea floor to the raid until you were done with the last plug at the sea floor. he said that in an interview. i guess i will ask you, mr. mckay, do you agree that normally you would not do that? >> i do not have specific knowledge of the procedure for this well. and whether refer circulating was part of the procedure or not, that will be part of the explanation. >> mr. newman, was that normal? >> it is normal practice to remove the drilling mud from the riser prior to disconnect think re -- disconnecting the triser
from the well. i don't have any specific knowledge of the order of the events as they took place on tuesday evening the 20th, because our record of a man's ends earlier. -- of events ends earlier. >> would you agree that that was normal? >> i certainly don't want to be non responsive to your request, send a third, concerning your question which was is this normal procedure and is this undertaken on a regular basis? that is something i do not have knowledge of today but i would be more than willing to gather -- attempt to gather the information for you, it should it be helpful to you. >> mr. mckay, had the mud not been removed first and replaced by sea water, would that have made the blow out more less
likely in your opinion? >> i do not know. >> mr. newman? >> i think that calls into question the actual mode of failure. until we can determine that, i think any hypothesis about the impact of the mud that indeed -- in the riser would be premature. >> we need to gather the information, reconstruct the sequence of events, to be in position to establish exactly what took place. >> mr. newman, i suppose you work for a number of companies. you drill for them. i'm intrigued by my colleagues $10 billion cap on strict liability legislation. i think it is something we should consider. but i understand that there
could be a result that it would favor only the super major oil producers, because the sum of money is so large. you think that large of money, of maun for that much -- a bond for that much, would that keep competitors out of the business? >> i am not sure i want to comment on public policy, but i think congress ought to take into consideration all the potential ramifications, including the commercial ramifications of such a policy. >> did you have additional questions? the worst i know that we're trying to wrap this up. i wanted to go back to mr. mckay because i think this issue of who pays for this cleanup is still critically important. mr. mckay, it just going back -- happy to have other witnesses
chime in. it was literally last year it that the last part of the exxon valdez clean-up was settled. when all the way to the supreme court. are you going to avoid that by paying legitimate claims in advance? i know you cannot stop anybody from suing you, but would you pay in advance of the process? >> we are paying legitimate claims right now. yes, i am. obviously we cannot keep that but we are saying exactly what we maine. we're going to pay legitimate claims. >> the harm to the fishing industry, both short-term and long-term, all you're going to pay. >> we're going to pay all legitimate claims $3 if it is an impact from tourism you're going to pay. >> all legitimate claims we're going to pay.
>> long-term damages to the fishing industry? >> i cannot quantify or speculate on long term. i do not know how to find it. >> additional troubles from depleted fisheries in their recovery. >> we're going to pay all legitimate claims. >> shipping impact. >> legitimate claims. >> impact on further drilling operations. i am talking about things that were part of the exxon valdez. what i am saying is that i think the american people are most anxious about this. let me go back. they said in to frame a process of liability. we obviously only have so much money in that. i know my colleagues are not going to waive that. to make the rich reactive -- to make that retroactive is probably impossible. you have the best buys that money can hide but -- by behind
you, so i want to make sure that we really understand what you're saying you're going to be committed to today, because a long-term impact of this is going to be for 20 years. we cannot sustain this kind of behavior or cost, and i want to make sure that we're getting full answers to the coverage that you are really signing up for today. >> i am trying to give you a clear answer as i possibly can. we're trying to be extremely responsive, expeditious, meet every responsibility we have as a responsible party, and that means pay all legitimate claims. that is our intent, and i cannot speculate on every individual case, but i can tell you this is not about legal words. this is about getting it done and getting it done right. >> and impacts to the pristine beaches that we have in this area, those are legitimate claims?
but yes, it impacts the beaches, it impacts commerce, yes. >> mr. chairman, i am one who hopes that we never get into the situation where we are in court debating about what is now a legitimate claim. you're making a big presentation here that you are stepping up to these responsibilities and i hope that that is true. and i hope, mr. chairman, that we will go back on the legislation we have passed out of this committee, that included an opening up further of the gulf, and passed legislation to reconsider that. this is clear evidence that the beaches of destined don't need to be subject anymore will threaten the future. >> thank you very much. if there are no other questions, you have any more, senator sessions? >> i thank senator cantwell for pursuing that line of inquiry. i think there is some confusion about it. i try to look at all law on it.
legally use still remains subject the all the normal trespass and pollution walls of the state if you damage property or beaches. is that correct? of course i do not under spawned that law in detail but we're skeptical all laws. >> the provisions in the pollution that that provide for these damages, strict liability damages, expressly stated in the act that that does not abrogate existing state law. i do feel that that is part of it but i believe again for answer is you should do what is right and compensate fully and not try to utilize technical defenses that are not legitimate. thank you, mr. chairman. >> let me just thank the witnesses for their testimony and indicate that if members
have additional questions, that they want to submit for the record, they should do so by the end of business tomorrow, thursday. if you folks would be able to respond to those in the next week, that would be appreciated. thank you all very much and i will conclude the hearing. [unintelligible] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2010]
>> the senate environment and public works committee also looked into the gulf of mexico oil spill and developmental drilling. here is a number of business people and government officials from louisiana and florida, for little less than an hour. >> the executive director of the gulf of mexico fishing council. the chairman of the board of both for restaurant and lodging association. dr. eric may, who senator carden really wanted to introduce but he had the lead. he is from the university of maryland.
and a member of the stanford law school cause of the with the informal on policies program. and a retired member of the united states air force, the department of defense coordinator during the response to the exxon valdez spill. the march 24. he will testify today regarding the lessons dod learned in responding to the valdez spill. i want to say to all of you, i know this is a very long and difficult day. i so appreciate your staying here with us and so we will get right into your testimony. dr. bartone. is your microphone? the oilers their ago. thank you very much, madam
chairman. i represent the gulf of mexico fishery council was as executive -- as its executive director. it was established as part of the fission management council and management at. as the council's responsibility to submit fishery management plan is designed to manage the fisheries up to the 200-mile limit. it has voting members from each state in the gulf and is composed of state fishery representatives, individuals from the repression creek recreational and scientific studies. says the reauthorization of the ad, but gold council has successfully improved this box so that they are no longer characterized as overfish. current fisherman -- fisheries management plans are there so that they are no longer over fish. we were on our way to achieving this gl.