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tv   Tonight From Washington  CSPAN  May 17, 2010 8:00pm-11:00pm EDT

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their parents and grandparents were used to a certain level, find what is going on now completely unbelievable. you have to pay your taxes. do you think, on the ground, people are seeing any changes in terms of corruption? if i am not sure i am the person to talk about what afghans are seeing on the ground. i would simply impart what we have seen and what some of the steps that we have asked the government of afghanistan to take in terms of making those steps. >> is that sufficient? >> i think there is no doubt that we will continue to work with them and move in the direction that we think it's in everybody's best interest. . .
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military recruiters were never referred from the campus. there were not afforded access to the office of career services, but had access to students through veterans organizations. military recruitment for this semester that is being looked at, actually increased from the prior semesters. i think last week, senator scott brown spoke pretty eloquently about the notion that elena
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kagan was a friend of the military. to quote the dean of west point, it is " "ludicrous". they see the truth. thank you. >> pennsylvania's 12th congressional district is holding a special election. we will hear from the candidates next. the president of bp america said the company that owned the drilling rig that exploded and sank is responsible for the safe operation of the equipment.
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that hearing is later. and then madeleine albright talks about the new strategy for nato. >> c-span, our public affairs content is available on radio, television, and online. you can connect with us on facebook, twitter, and youtube and sign up for our alert e- mails. >> campaign rallies from this past weekend from the two candidates. in 25 minutes, massachusetts senator scott brown campaign's in washington. the widow of the late congressman at a rally. ÷÷÷÷÷÷÷÷÷÷÷÷÷÷÷÷÷÷÷÷÷÷÷÷÷÷÷÷÷÷÷÷ [applause]
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♪ >> thank you. is this a great crowd, or what? thank you for coming out. just for me, can you believe it? [applause] i know that is different. i know why you're here. are we going to have a big picture and tuesday?
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[applause] let me tell you something. it is an honor and privilege to have president bill clinton come before the election. it was president clinton's leadership and his willingness to work across the aisle, to work with all parties, knowing economic development, on jobs. during his time in office, he turned a budget deficit into a surplus. [applause] he turned welfare into work. and he turned an economic recession into the largest peacetime economic expansion in u.s. history. [applause]
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thank you for being here. i am also privileged and i have to tell you that this support is the most meaningful support i have during this campaign. i want to thank our first lady, joyce murtha, for coming out. [applause] early on in the campaign, there was a group of people, a lot of set at. without their help, we would not be standing here today. there is a group of people, if their support did not come, we would not be standing here today. look at this crowd. this is absolutely wonderful. [applause] i have been very fortunate.
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i received support from adverse groups across this state, across the spectrum. republican and democrat, liberal and conservative. i am talking about economic development, jobs, doing the things you want to do in pennsylvania. that is what my messages. it is about you. it is not about me. [applause] i have to admit mrs. murtha chastised me. i am looking around trying to find my family. i will not forget them again. my sister, my aunt, my mother-in-law, my sister-in-law, my nephew. everyone came out. [applause] standing up here makes me so proud to be doing the things i am doing and running in this
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campaign. bittersweet moment. passage of congressman murtha, right now. working for congressman murtha all those years, he always had one single focus. he said it is always about the is exactly right. it is about jobs, economic development. that is why early on, i developed a jobs plan that included eliminating tax breaks to companies that ship their jobs overseas and included -- [applause] that ship our jobs overseas. giving tax breaks to small businesses that create jobs and working on what could be our industry of the future which is energy. we have coal and shale gas and
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wind power and we have nuclear with westinghouse up north of pittsburgh. western pennsylvania could become the energy capital of the world. i am excited to go to work and make that future for western pennsylvania. [applause] somewhat confused. seen his commercials and he mentions nancy pelosi more than he mentions me. a local newspaper in their editorial said he should move to california if he wants to run against nancy pelosi, and i support that. we need to send a message to mr.
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timberlands in the republican party. this is not about washington, d.c. is that about -- it is about to uniontown and apollo. this is about us. it is not about them more him. it is about doing things back here. we're here today because we have to get our message out to the people in the 12th congressional district, and we have to get them to the polls on tuesday. an election this close, we cannot take a single vote for granted. 36 years ago in february, 1974, congressman john murtha won his special election by 122 votes. we cannot leave one vote on the table. we have to go out and get every single vote. [applause]
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i am asking you to bring that same fight to our campaign now through tuesday. your help is needed. there is volunteer sign up sheets and people of prague. we have to go get every single vote. let me do the math. we have 51 hours until the polls close and we cannot miss one vote. we will win on tuesday and we will send a message to the republican party and those people who say no to progress. what president clinton did while he was in office was he said i made democrat, you are a democrat, your liberal, your conservative. we work together. my opponent has said i am over here and you are over there. i cannot work with you unless you believe like i do.
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when it comes to western pennsylvania, i will work with everyone and anyone who will move us forward. that is my job. when someone comes through the door of a congressional office and they might have a social security problem more benefits problem or they want to work on a budget. their issue, it is not a republican or democrat or liberal problem. it is not a conservative problem. it is their problem. their constituents and you are obligated as an elected official to do everything you can to help that person regardless of what their beliefs are and that is when i promise i will do. now gives me great pleasure to introduce one of the great supporters of this campaign and one of the pillars of this area.
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please join me in welcoming mrs. george murtha. >> thank you. i am sorry jack is not here to see you. he would love it. president bill clinton is becoming a regular visitor to the area. whhe was here less than two yeas ago for the 2008 campaign.
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we won that one. there is a good chance we will win this one. he was here in february. he is back again and to make sure that mark continues jack's work. [applause] jacko and bill clinton were friends and golfing buddies. you should hear some of their stories. i am especially pleased and proud to welcome back to johnstown and the 12 congressional district, my friend, jack's friend, and your friend, president bill clinton. [cheers and applause] >> thank you. thank you.
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thank you so much. thank you joyce and mar, thark. i am here for three reasons. i just like it here. this district roderick for me in 1992 and 1996. i have been over the district and i got to come back to -- again for hillary and for jack murtha and i enjoyed that. and i feel at home here. i have come from morgantown, west virginia.
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like i am home. arkansas where i grew up and lived and served as governor. i am grateful to you. the second reason i am here is murtha. he was my friend and my partner. in every encounter, he always supported me, except when we played golf. i remember one time, he had a great deal of [unintelligible] and we were playing at a congressional country club. he said i'm going to be on this too. i said if you miss you will be in the water. he was so wound up he hit the over 60 years old at the time.
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it is good to have a guy like that on your side. he was one of the most important members of congress and he delivered for you. he would want us to be here to make sure that the work he did continues. [applause] the third reason i am here is by far the most important. good congressman. you expect his wife and children to show up. you expect his mother to show up. when i started running for president, my mother was the only one i thought could win. hillary and chelsea were undecided.
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his mother-in-law showed up. if he can get his mother-in-law at a political rally he is deserving of your boat. law will be 91. i went over my in- laws. -- won over my in-laws. the reason this is a close races because times are tough and things are a pioneer. and people are disoriented. they do not know what to believe. for the things they do not want. we have seen that lately. keep in mind before her this the
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last inauguration, this country have lost several million jobs. before the financial meltdown started in september 2008, to 30 of the american people, and come was lower because we had two and a half million jobs in seven years after you got 22.7 million in my years. we did not have enough work. there are lots of other issues to talk about. health care and education. they relate to the economy. works when we have got a big infusion of new jobs every five years or so and when it does not, we'll get in trouble. there are small towns that get in trouble first. because there is not enough money circulating in the absence of new investment. that is what this deal is about. life dealing with the
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questions that most people do not think about. i was in politics, we discussed two things. what are you going to do, and build roads or cut taxes? how much are you going to spend? there is a third question which is what ever you are going to do, how do you propose to do it change people's lives? assets mark has, one of the biggest reasons was the guy who had to figure out how question. how are you supposed to solve these problems? there is a lot of people out there with good intentions. if you do not know how to do it,
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if you cannot figure out how to, if you can i get people around the table, if you cannot say let's talk this year, let's how to do this, you cannot be effective for district like this. you need somebody in congress who is in the house business. that is what you need. you need someone who realizes that what they need in washington county may be different from where you need in johnstown. it is diverse in its potential challenges and economic assets and problems. i loved what he said about energy. love seeing those windmills. we could get our demand from the wind alone.
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the small farmers could make a killing if we organize. i spent a lot of time on that. in their countries to figure how to do something faster, cheaper, better. we need to get that government back in that business. to figure out how to [inaudible] so i think it is important. i also think it is important that he keeps score in the way you should keep score. i listened to what he said. me, what do you why your legacy to be? what do you want on your tombstone? i think there is three things that matter. if you are in public service. all that matters is not who
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high flown rhetoric was. our people better off when you finish than when you started? are things coming together or falling apart? the rest of it is background music. that does not amount to a hill of beans. a lot of people feel is frustration because the ground keeps moving. everything -- everything keeps changing. the world, i want to get off. a lot of these people are saying stop the world, i want to get off trade cannot stop it and you cannot get off. forget about politics.
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think about decision she made in your lives when you were really mad. and 80% chance you made a mistake. isn't that right? louisiana and we group on cajun humor. there was this joke about this guy walked up to his friend and said why do you have dynamite in your coat pocket? and he said, because i usually have my cigars. that is what you get when you make decisions when you stop thinking and start man. you cannot get off and you cannot stop. we have to make change the friend of the people in this
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district. we have to make change, " and confident for people to live with. the only way to do it is hire someone to make good things happen. this guy will make good things happen. he knows how to do it. he understands how to connect those -- boats people cast with lives people live in johnstown. that is what you need in congress. [applause] the biggest thing you've got to the stage. is always the problem with these rallies. there are few undecided voters here. undecided voters and uncertain outside of here. we need to do now is promise
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yourself if you want somebody in the house, someone who can deliver, all these issues as they relate to the economy. health-care is an economic issue. energy is an economic issue. you will have to figure of some way to put the [unintelligible] in the ground or put it in to algae. smokestack and put it in algae. they use that for biofuel and it lets out oxygen. you have to be in the house business. -- how business. we need to work together. that is what mark critz will do.
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[applause] we need to do, -- what you need to do is think of every person you will pass between now and when the polls close. you're going to pass a lot of people. do not pass them. say something to them. ask them to vote and tell them what is at stake. ozian the end, all that matters then when i started. this is an election and if people understand the connection and they go, this will have huge ramifications. i want the democrats nowdemocrar
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this message. i want them to hear their practical common sense message trade will need to hear this. if you do what you can between now and tuesday, the world will hear this message. jack murtha will be of their smiling down on us and it will be better off. thank you and god bless you all. [applause] thank you.
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>> a rally for the republican noncandidate, tim burns,. friday.
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>> make some noise. the thing i need you to do is making as much noise and being as loud and obnoxious as you can possibly be.
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let's give it one trial run. for when they get here. that is perfect. without further ado. we will start this event. it is my pled -- pleasure to introduce the chairman of the allegheny and republicans. >> this is a beautiful crowd. i cannot wait to see what we look like. if you can join me in the pledge of allegiance. "i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america, and to the republic for which it stands: one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
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thank you. one other gentleman i would like to introduce today. he is behind me. give him a warm welcome as well. >> how are you doing today? i am chairman of firearms owners against crime. weapon working hard for 25 years and i want to ask each of you a question. you have come here today to celebrate a candid it. i want you to look in your hearts and ask yourselves, what does freedom mean to you? think about it. we're at a crossroads in our country. i ask every candid it that. more than a few of them of the thousands i have interviewed are stumped by the concept until
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they think about it. we do not think about what america stands for. a well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people, that is you, to keep and bear arms should not be infringed. what is wrong with that statement? think about where it came from. it came from the pennsylvania constitution. the right of the citizen to bear arms in defense of themselves in the states shall not be questioned. that is the legacy each one of you have to protect. because i want you to also think that until february of this year, we did not restore the right of citizens to bear arms in national parks like lexington and concord, where the british originally came to take the firearms of americans.
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how ludicrous is that? a congress that's where is an oath in the constitution. these are your rights and freedoms. this is why i am here today. i have to tell you something. i have interviewed lots of candidates. jim burns is excellent on these issues. he knows how to compete. that is something we have not had for a long time. for individuals to stand up and say no. gun-control was wrong. america is full of cemeteries with people in it because government has led to more deaths and more crime.
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you have been deceived about that. jim burns is not a candidate who will fall prey to that. that is why i am here today. if any of you know me, if any of you have heard me, you will know how much i believe in the constitution of this united states. i am a marine. my son is an army general in. he has three tours in iraq. my war was a vietnam. i still draft beer every veteran who is here today with a simplified from a fellow marine. -- dsemper fi from a fellow marine. the of this something he believes in his heart and i
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promise you that you will be voting for a good man. that is the reason i think all of you need to consider what the term what does freedom mean to you? in this society we have what is called a push button society. we push a button for lights, our freedom, our wars. it takes troops on the ground. remember what the founding fathers said. the only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for. men and women to do nothing. it is of to you. it is our country. let's get to work. [applause] >> our next speaker is someone who you are familiar with. this gentleman is our hopeful to be next governor of pennsylvania. attorney general tom corbett.
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>> good afternoon. thank you. thank you for come down on a great day. when you are finished here today, if you have heard the speeches, we do not want you to lose the spirit. we want you to go out and work. on behalf of everyone who is out there campaigning today, we have a primary and special election. the one thing i rememberemind e, you can vote for tim burns twice. legally. things have changed quite a bit from two years ago. there has been a message going out there across the nation. and across pennsylvania. i hear the same message everywhere i go. i will tell you what that message is in a second.
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they have heard it 2009. in states like virginia, new jersey, where people said the same message you are going to say here in a moment. i have heard across pennsylvania as i talked to people in erie county and everywhere through the 12 all the way to philadelphia. that same message is a very simple word. enough. enough spending. but enough taxation. enough big government. it is very simple word. that is what the word is. we need to tell washington and tell congress what?
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enough taxation. we need to tell speaker pelosi what? >> enough. >> stop the taxing, stop the spending. reduce our budget. but the free enterprise system work. this is what this is about. you have an opportunity on tuesday to send timberlands to congress so that he can give them the same message which is enough. absolutely. i cannot tell you how important that is. that is the message here across pennsylvania. when i talk to the citizens of pennsylvania, they're telling me we have had enough. we have to change the dynamic. we have to make that responsible -- them responsible. we have to reduce taxes. we have to reduce the tax across the country. people have had enough. it is 72 hours.
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until the election. an election that the entire country is watching. the country is looking to see whether the message that started in new jersey and virginia and will often. and when a senator from massachusetts was elected when no one thought he could be elected, and the people of massachusetts said the same thing, which is enough. that is so poor and to continue the message that senator brown was able to grab from people in massachusetts to take with him to washington. another person in this congress, another -- for him to say to speaker pelosi enough. thank you very much for coming out. time for you to start working.
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thank you. >> thank you. it is great to see you. i represent the ninth congressional district which shares for five counties with the 12th district. i know the people of the 12th district 12. i am proud to be here today. to be here in support of tim. we're going to send an doddridge to washington. send a message to nancy pelosi and the president and tell them that enough is enough. enough with the spending, enough with taxes, enough with trying to kill the coal industry in pennsylvania for trying to kill jobs in the cap and trade bill.
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[applause] enough of us going around the world apologizing for being american. apologizing for spreading freedom and democracy around the world. we are americans and proud of it and we have to make sure we say that every day in pennsylvania, across this country, and around the world. all of you know we have a special guest today. i want to remind you, we got upset in virginia. the shot that was heard around the world in massachusetts. scott brown won the senate seat. won the senate seat that belong to the people of massachusetts,
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not to the kennedy family or the democratic party. on tuesday in the 12th district, we will send another shot around the world when we elect jim burns, to represent the 12th district. you have to vote twice on tuesday. you have to vote for timberlands in the special election and vote in the primary election -- vote for tim burns. you can vote twice. it may be the only time you can do it legally. it is important that he gets elected and wins the primary. that momentum will carry through to the november election and that will carry to republicans through the november election to retake the house and send a message.
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remember, twice. special election and primary election. it is my great pleasure to introduce to you the guy we're going to send to washington. the guy who wrote in pennsylvania and was educated at pennsylvania and the only person in this election that created 400 jobs in western pennsylvania. [applause] pa. 12's next congressman, tim burns. [applause] >> thank you. it is fitting we have this rally here today. it was over and a year ago that i stood on the steps at a tea
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party i help organize. i do not know if your rubber that but it was pouring rain and we had 2000 people. -- remember that, it was pouring rain and we had 2000 people. i was concerned about the out of control spending and the unprecedented deficits and the budgets, the out of control budget deficits. we had an $800 billion stimulus package. it was not long after i spoke i got a great response and was asked to speak and another and another. i felt compelled to do more. i was asked to run for congress. i got in this race because i believed this country was in a fight for its life. i believe that if we do not make major changes quickly, my children are not going to have the same opportunities i have. i got in this race because i know i would not be able to look
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like kids in the eye if i did nothing. we'll have a responsibility to do what we can to help turn this great nation around. our forefathers gave up their lives, their fortunes to give birth to this great nation. the least we can do is give up our time and energy to save it. that is what all of you are doing here today. since i got in this race nearly a year ago, have things gotten better? government is bigger and deficits are bigger. washington is down the same road of bigger, higher taxes, bigger government, and at of control spending. that is why this race is receiving national attention. this race is a referendum on the obama-policy agenda.
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a week from now, nancy pelosi and barack obama will either be saying do not worry, we can get back to our liberal agenda. scott brown was an anomaly. or, a week from today, they will say, this conservative movement is for real. we are not going to be able to move forward on our simple agenda. i think that america is on the wrong track. i know you think america is on the wrong track. let me ask you a few questions. do you think we should be going around the world going to our enemies and apologizing? do you think we should be afraid to say islamic extremists [unintelligible]
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do you think that we should tell our enemies that we will not use nuclear weapons? do you think we should let the government take over the greatest health care system in the world? i do not be there but my opponent does. the passing of the health-care bill i believe was the ultimate insult to the american people. here we have a bill that congress did not right. they did not raid. they did not understand it and yet, the past it any way against the will of the people. -- they passed anyway against the will of the people. we will take the steps necessary to take back this country and i believe it will start with scott brown and the next step will be may 18 in this election. i can tell you, even with all of america's problems, the challenges we face, i see great reason for hope.
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i will tell you why. there is one thing that barack obama has done very well. he has managed to motivate and mobilize millions of americans from all over the country. he has got them to get off of their couch, get it into the street, a standard to washington and tell the government we're not going to take it anymore. [applause] in comes down to can i get elected? can a long-shot candidate, a guy who drives a pickup truck, a long shot canada running in a district with a two to one disadvantage, a seed
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that has been held for over three decades, can i win the seat? the question is, can a long-shot candidate, the guy who drives a pickup truck, win an election in a district that has a 3-21 disadvantage run for a seat that was held by an entrenched incumbent of the opposite party for over three decades? i have news for barack obama and nancy pelosi. yes, we can. it gives me great pleasure to introduce the man who started it all and proved that to know seat is safe, senator scott brown. >> thank you.
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thank you so much. it is great to see you all and great to be back in washington. you know what the differences between this washington and the one i left this morning? the people here are sick and tired of the overspending, the over-taxation, the ad of control deficit spending. they just keep printing money. people care about their kids and their grandkids and their great grandkids. how they are going to repay that debt to china and to the other countries that are financing the things we like to do. how're we going to do with terrorism and terrorist attack? the reason i saought tim,
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there are similarities. he is independent thinker and willing to be an independent voter in the other washington. somebody who, when i need to get something done, to look out for the interests of massachusetts and the interests of pennsylvania, i want to make sure i have someone i can trust and who will work every single day working for your interest and looking out for your wallets and pocketbooks and making sure you can keep that money in your pocket. being there for almost four months now, the out of control spending israel. the lack of accountability and looking out for the things that are important to you, it is real. you have a very real choice and
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a very -- a chance to send to washington we have had enough. we have had enough. this is not about to republicans. this is about good people whether it is democrats, independents, republicans who are tired of the business as usual. the same old stuff in washington. just the printing of money. the way that we are not listening to the things we care so deeply about. imagine being in a business having a nice life and say i want to redirect my life and focus on trying to make a difference. it is what i felt 15 years ago. i was upset about the school issue and i decided to do something about it because my
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wife was tired of listening to me complain so i did and i am continuing to fight each and every day. as i know tim will. i want to come down and meet each and every one of you. i want to tell you a couple of things. you need to be his truth squad. you need to get out right now for the next few days and call your friends, your grandkids, your kids, your mom's, your dad, your cousins, your uncles, your answer. have them call 10 or 15 people. do not call -- take one vote for granted. every multimedia side you can get on. tell them how important it is to send a message to washington. you have had enough and you want balance in washington.
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you want some good government in washington and you have had enough. [applause] you need to get down to his headquarters and make phone calls. did not take any vote for granted. if they are in the hospital, go get them. if they are in a nursing home, bring them down. senior centers, kids at home from college. my daughter is home. get them out to vote and get them involved. show them what it's like to be part of the process. thank you for coming and want to congratulate him for the great race he is running. i am looking forward to going over to the other side of the road and watching his swearing in. i will come down and say hi to everybody. thank you. [applause]
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>> voters go to the polls to vote in the senate primary.
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arlen specter is being challenged by [unintelligible] ran paul is running against [unintelligible] in arkansas, senator blanche lincoln faces halter. >> supreme court nominee elena kagan is meeting with senators in advance of her confirmation hearing. learn more about the process in c-span abroad this book. -- c-span's new book. >> a senate hearing on the gulf coast oil spill. you hear janet napolitano. then the president and chairman
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of bp america. senator joe lieberman chairs the committee. >> good afternoon. the hearing will come to order. we convened today to assess the private and public sector response. to what is rapidly and ominously becoming the worst oil spill in america's history. we do so as part of the responsibility to oversee the operations of government and in
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this case, specifically, the incident management operations of the department of homeland security and the united states coast guard. we're not here to determine how the explosion of the oil will happened -- elwell happen. those are critically important questions. other congressional committees and private groups have began to explore those questions. . . our focus today is o preparedness and response. the preparedness and response of our government and the private businesses in of all to this accident -- and private businesses iolved with this accident and the oil spill after it occurred. with the companies and government agencies prepared for a deep blow up like this one?
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how have they performed in response? those are the big questions that we hope to begin to answer this afternoon. we owe it to the american people to learn from this catastrophe, not only so that we can do everything we can to prevent anything like it from happening again, but also having in mind our focus on preparedness and response so that we can guarantee that if it does happen again, the oil companies and the government will not be left to scurry about trying to figure out how to stophe oil gushing into the gulf like firefighters trying to extinguish fires already burning and consuming a neighborhood. instead, hopefully they will learn lessons from this spill and will be much better prepared to respond quickly. under the home and security act -- homeland security act and homeland security directive no.
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5, the department is charged with coordinatinthe federal response to major disasters. the secretary is further charged with coordinating activities of the private-sector and non-governmental players in response to the disaster, and must ensure the disaster information is gathered and disseminated to the public and private sector officials. the united states coast guard is specifically responsible for managing a marine oil spill cleanup. a host of other agencies of our government -- the minerals management service within the department of the interior, the national oceanographic and atmospheric administration, and the environmental protection agency -- also have critical responsibilities in this crisis. and of course, the private sector companies have enormous obligations under law. in fact, much of the actual cleanup is being conducted by
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contractors that bp has hired to responto the spill. and as provided by law, the private companies responsible for the spill will pay for cleanup regardless of who is carrying out the response. we know that the oil companies spill-- companies' response plans must be filed and approved by the minerals mining service or wells and by the u.s. coast guard for drilling vesse or rigs before any drilling can begin. this afternoon, we're going to ask whether bp as adequate incident management and response plans and placed it at a time -- in place ahead of time to guide their response efforts. did mms require such adequate incident management in response plans? did the plan specifically, the
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consequencesf a blowout, oil and gushing 5000 feet under water? we want to know what plans are in place to guide the coast guard and other agencies in their response. what capability to the department of homeland security, defense, and other agencies make available in the early days of the oil ill? did they act quickly enough? what response capabilities will be made available as the disaster continues? we will also ask whether the government was forced to over- rely on the oil companies' expertise and information here. did the government have knowledge of the disaster independent of what bp was telling it? i would say myself that i have spent, since this accident and spill, some time studying what
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the law requires of the oil killing companies and our government, and which -- the oil-drilling companies and our gornment, and what should be on the response plans filed by the u.s. coast guard and the metals mining service for the deep horizon -- and the minerals mining service for the decries and wells. i emerge with an unsettling tentative conclusion and questions i hope can be answered today by our witnesses. there is one set of witnesses that are not here, and i must say that is from mms. i regret that mms leadership has chosen not to appear before our committee today, because really, they need to be asked the same questions i am going to ask homeland security, coast guard, and bp. mms, as i mentioned, must approve or reject the response
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plans for the wells, coacwhich s where the accident occur where before this could be drilled. i do want to say this afternoon that if appropriate and constructive, our committee will ask the secretary and/or leadership of mms to appear before us at a later date. here come in brief, is some of what i have concluded tentatively, and the questions that most need to be answered by ou witnesses. bp was required to submit an oil response plan to mms. under law, this can be regional or a specific to a particular well or rig. almost 10 years ago, december 2000, bp filed only a regional
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response plan, and mms accepted it without asking for more. bp satisfied the legal requirements. but the question is, was it adequate? i am sure that mms has asked for more. that plan was mostecently revised on june 30 of last year. my first question is, should the government have been satisfied with only at regional response plan instead of one for each well, and one that was filed almost a decade ago? second, more important, did the government, through the minerals and mining service, require an oil spill response plan adequate to the widest range of possible dangers, including the failure of a blowout preventer? it sure appears that date did not. the response plan, which bp file
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and was approved by the minerals mining service, as required, it included an appendix which identifies worst case still some areas and proposed methods for responding -- worst-case-spill scenarios and proposed methods for responding. in its plan, bp foresaw such a worst-case scenario for a deep water blowout resulting in more than 250,000 barrels of crude oil every day. people will been following this crisis know that that is much more than what is actually being discharged in this horrific spill occurring and the gulf today. the estimates range from the low of 5000 barrels daily to the height of 100,000 barrels daily.
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but here is the problem -- in the respoe plan approved by the mineral and mining service, bp said it could use booms and skimming vessels and disbursements to count or collect more than 490,000 barrels a day. but that was mostly from the surface, where booms and skimming vessels and dispersants are mostly effective. as far as i can tell, and know and want ask, those methods don't deal with the enormous accumulation of oil are occurring now under water in the gulf. reportedly as large as it can -- as 10 miles long and wide in more than 100 feet quick pit
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was that the foreseeable consequence of the blow out? if it was, why didn't the metal and mining service required that the oil company had a better plan for responding to the consequence? finally, and perhaps most important -- in the approve the bp response plans, there appears to be, in the end, total reliance on the block printer -- blowout preventer as the last line of defens as if a blow out to prevent it could not fail. but blowout preventers have failed in the past, no where near the consequences of this one, but they have failed. no plans were filed or requested on what to do to control a spill if the blowout eventer in deep water failed, as it did in the current case.
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so i want to ask why not. what can be done to prevent another failure of it blowout preventer in deep water, or to control the spill more quickly and effectively if it does? until those questions are answered satisfactorily, i don't see how oour government can allw any more deep water drills to be permitted or drill. i say that with regret, because i know how important offshore american oil is to our nation's ergy independence. but the u.s. government has a responsibility for protecting public safety that is more important. that responsibility, i fear, was not fulfilled in this case prior to the acciden occurring. the result is the human environmental and economic catastrophe that we are now witnessing in the gulf. senator collins.
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>> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. chairman, as we began this oversight hearing into what is certainly an environmental catastrophe and what is likely be an economic disaster, let us also remember what a personal tragedy this incidt is for the families of the 11 workers who lost their lives afterhe explosion rocked andank the deep water horizon oil drilling platform nearly four weeks ago. we know when this catastrophe began, but none of us knows what will end. -- none of us knows when it will end a b. oil coinues to gush from the well had nearly a mile below the
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surface of the gulf of mexico. despite recent successful efforts to siphon off a portion of the oil spring from the broken pipe, the waters of the gulf are slowly becoming a sea of crude oil. expanding plume is menacing the fragile ecosystem of the gulf, potentially damaging a vast array of sea life, at the environment, and features of americans -- futures of americans who live and work among the gulf coast. every day some 5000 barrels of oil are flowing into the gulf. but recent expert estimates place that number as high as 70,000 barrels. hundreds of that federal officials and coast guard personnel and scientists and
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engineers and officials from british petroleum search for solutions to fix this urgent problem. how do we turn off this fossett of oil that is stuck open nearly -- this faucet of oil that is stuck open nearly a mile under water? we have learned about the challenge and response efforts, but there are still far too many unanswered questions. we will ask what the government and industry could have ne differently to avoid this catastrophe. we will ask how continuing damage to the gulf of mexico can be mitigated, and how this bill can eventually be stopped. as the coast guard, not noted, the technological ingenuity -- as the coast guard commandant noted, the technological ingenuity needed has parallels
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to the best commission for apollo 13. -- has parallels to the rescue mission for apollo 13. but this time, in a deep ocean envinment that is dark, cold an unforgiving. there are some 90 rigs drilling in the gulf right now providing 1.7 million barrels of oil today, or nearly 1/3 of tota u.s. production. according to the federal mineral management service, only 0.7% of the drilling platforms are searching for a wle in what is deeper than 1000 feet. yet more than 50% of all leases are in this deep waters. clearly, oil companies believe there is much promise in deep water drilling.
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therefore, there could be a rapid expansion in this area in coming years. in light of the deep water or ice and disaster -- in light of the deep water horizon disaster, we should examine whether we need deepwater drilling operations in these challenging conditions. until we figure out what went wrong, i believe the administration is correct in calling a pause to the approval of further drilling in deep waters. mms has the responsibility for reviewing and approving oil response plans for drilling and conducted on offshore rigs like the deepwater hizon. we need to explore wt level preparedness mms requires for companies seeking to drill in
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this hazardous environment. for the coast, to effectively perform its role in marine -- for the coast guard to effectively perform its role in marine environmental protection, it must work closely with mms and the private sector to be prepared for a worst-case scenario. to that end, i was surprised to learn that the current lease has no requirement for mms to share oil spill response plans with the coast guard. how can that be? it seems to mehat mandating concurrent coast guard approval of the plans is the common sense change that we should ma immediately. today we will also hear more about the department of homeland security's coordination of the response to the spill. the federal government and the private sector have committed substantia resources to respond to the spill.
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those efforts will certainly continue. but concerns have been raised regarding the adequacy and timeliness of resources committed to this effort in the initial days of the blowout. furthermore, with the administration's proposed $75 million cut in the coast guard budget, it is a question in my mind whether the coast guard can continue to maintain sufficient capabilities to respond to this and future disasters along with performing its myriad other missions. surely, this catastrophe should prompt the administration to reconsider the ill-conceived and budget cuts. it is always the coast guard, whether it is hurricane katrina, the crisis in haiti, or the oil
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spill in the gulf coast region, that is always first to respond. and the last thing we should be doing is reducing the number of coast guard personnel, uniformed personnel, by more than 10 individuals, as the administration's budget proposes. finally, the private sector must accept responsibility for this failure in modern engineering, at the liability -- and we need to take close look at the liability caps to see if they are still adequate. this oil spill, when it finally does conclude, will be recorded as an epic catastrophe whose impacts are likely to be felt for a long time to come. >> thank you very much, senator collins. we will go right to secretary boller totten.
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-- secretary napolitano. to say the obvious, you have one of t toughest jobs in america but i appreciate what you do every day and your willingness to come before us. the oversight of original jurisdiction over your department for this testimony this afternoon. thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman, senator collins, members of the committee. i look forward to the opportunity to testify about the response to the bp oil spill in the gulf of mexico. some of your questions are probably better directed to the department of interior or british petroleum itself, but i will not be -- i will be testifying about what happened, the original response, and the real admiral neffenger is here to answer any questions of a
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techcal naturehat i myself are not able to answer, although i must say that i have learned, as we all have, a lot about oil spills over the last four weeks. i want to begin by thanking the men and women of the coast guard, who have been at this event from its beginning. they have worked quickly, tirelessly, in response to what, as senator collins rightly noted, is one of the most devastating environmental disasters that this nation has ever faced. and i want to express my condolences to the families of the workers whose lives lost in the explosion. it is a constantly evolving situation. the federal government has brought all resources to bear to limit this bill -- limit the spill's economic and public health and tax and make sure
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that the communities and resources of the gulf coast are restor by british petroleum. dhs is the coordinating agency . this may be the first time that the homeland security directive no. 5 has been laid on a national framework, allowing us to court and it across many agencies and to the concentration and involvement necessary for this spill. we are working 24/7 in close coordination with state and local partners to make sure that the access and personnel and equipment and the impact speaks of their extensive efforts. first, i would like to give you a quick update on the current status, and then i would like to give you some detail on the original response, because it is
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of some important interest by many of you. . >> aircraft are constantly
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monitoring the integrity of the boom and our response teams are making necessary adjustments to the lines. we are able, with these supplies, to ensure that we can respond within 24 hours or four or 5 miles of oil hitting short, which ever would be sooner. the boom is set up and deployed in staging areas so that it can be deployed within 48 hours or 5 miles of oil, which ever would be sooner. within 6.6 gallons of oil water have been recovered. approximately 625 thousands -- thousand gallons of dispersants have been applied. this is a method that has been approved by the national response team for the first time. 17 staging areas are currently set up to protect the little
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short line. we have approved the use of up to 17,000 national guard members, more than 1400 are currently deployed. all shipping channels and ports remain open in the gulf coast region. there are no reported delays or. a need arises. the flow of oil. yesterday ppl tenzin another test to contain some of the oil inserting a smallpipe into it, carrying oil directly up to the surface to a collection vessel. as of this morning, bp reports the pipe is recovering some oil and gas. there is no confirmation yet on the rate of flow. to achieve the highest
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even if this is successful, it mitigate this bispill's impact. we're moving toward a strategist to stop the flow of oil. bp states equipment for a technique called the top kill, which will pump heavies' liquids into the well and stop the flow of oil. this is expected to start athe end of the week. as i said earlier, the response to this incident began
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deepwater horizon occurred late aircraft beginning a large salce search and rescue. we were already beginning to this tragedy. on the morning of thursday, april 22, and the oil rig sank. 700,000 gallons of diesel fuel on board. this prompted the immediate of activation of the national response team.
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this included leadership from across a bridge across the federal government to the epa and departmentf defense, commerce and interior. i lead the nrt for coordinating the federal response. that same day president obama had a principals' meeting about the incident. at this time, there were no apparent oil leaks, but 100,000 potentially affected communities along the gulf coast. -- sunken rig was found on the ocean floor. the nrt ordered to plan ahead in case this situation
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24, bp found the first two weeks and alerted the federal the first three locations were
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>> we describe the ongoing activities and if we are doing everything we can to ensure that vital response access personnel and equipment are efficiently and effectively deployed in the blast. i have visited each of the affected states to see their response efforts are under way and first hand. meeting with governors, mayors,
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first responders and impacted communities, we are working closely with state and local governments every step of the way. we have daily calls with governors, mayors, and members of congress. we are overseeing bp, the responsible party, and their efforts to stop the leak at the source, reduce the spread of oil, protect the shoreline and mitigate damages. drilling relief wells which will relieve -- relieve pressure in permalloy stop the flow of oil is under way. the federal government has mobilized its best scientists and industry experts to work with bp to identify their strategies for sealing the well and the president has asked the department of energy to provide expertise on that front. above the surface, we continue to conduct controlled burns and apply chemical dispersants to reduce the amount of oil and
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break up the slick far offshore. we are deploying a boon to protect shoreline and wildlife. we are immediately dispatching cleanup teams went oil in the form of tar balls reaches the s. cleanup or in other ways can we are ensuring that this -- communities, and businses that result of this bill. can be filed on li. been filed by affected
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looking ahead, the strong response that we have environnt, economy in the gulf questions. i kept rerring to mms y the it is the mineral management service. but the records show. -- let the record show. it is really quite enormous. the government is involved in the government is involved in. i want to go back again to some
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of the questions i raised in my opening statement, and this really goes to preparedness uniquely for our problem with a deepwater well. i will ask you, madam secretary, and this may be technical stuff, but here is the question, and let me speak to someone who has as we watch the company, the to figure out how to close this prepared to deal with this kind of problem. in fact, as the company said quite honestly, they had capped
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concluded or anyone in the >> let me divide it, if i might, mr. chairman, into before the before the blood while it is clear that there was an i have read some of the same
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have been extensive plans prepared under the national there are area contingency from state localities and parishes. those plants not only exists, but are exercised on a regular indeed, i think there was an area response plan for an oil- commander for that exercise.
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those were not released to deal with the blowout in the deep water well. there was a lot of work done and there has been an enormous effort at response. it has really had an effect on the water on the surface. now we have to enormous problems that i am not sure we were prepared to do with. what do you do when a deep water well blows and what do you do about the oil under the water that is now accumulating in this
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massive plume? i know you do a lot of drilling. do you drill for dealing -- do you train for dealing with the consequences of a deep water we? ? >> we do not drill this specific scenario, mr. chairman. what the secretary was referring to was a spill of national significance. we do drill for massive oil releases. in this case, we did drill in 2002 for massive oil relief. it was not like the specific scenarios. >> wasn't as deep as this? >> no. it was not. >> my understanding is that, increasingly, in the gulf and other where -- other places, we're usi deepwater drilling increasingly?
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>> i do not know the exact number of deepwater wells. it is about 1% of all of the wells. i would have to refer to someone else for the exa amount. there is increasing activity in the deeper parts of the under contintal shelf. >> you have the responsibility for improving oil spill response plans from what i would call the rig. the minerals management service from the interior has to approve those plans, no matter the depth of the well. i wanted to ask you two things. one of them is going back to something from my opening statement. does it make sense that bp was enabled to file just original response plan? that presumably would cons -- cover both deepwater and more shallow water wells, as opposed
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to apecific response plan, particular the deepwater wells? >> we require specific response plans for each vessel that we think might have the potential to discharge. >> that is very important. you have a different approach than mms does on that? >> yes, sir. we do. >> my time is winding down. i think the secretary said it correctly and i agree with it from what i have looked at. there was total reliance put on this blowout preventer. in the end, it is a piece of equipment. they fail. there was evidence that the blow out printer had failed in the past, not in large numbers, and never with the result of this kind. because e coast guard has a
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responsibility for marine oil spills, what do you think should be done to t to have allevel of preparedness that allows the possibility, which may be rare -- we have seen the consequences are enormous. >> senator, this spill raises a lot of questions like that that we have to take a good, hard look at. this is clearly beyond what we anticipated being something that could happen. we never anticipated an ongoing release of this magnitude over this period of time. is is a very real question that has to be addressed. we have to go -- this is a very real question thatas to be addressed. we have to go back and look to review our various contingency plans. >> madame secretary i know you are working -- madame secretary, i know you are working with secretary salazar on this short-
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term investigation that the president has asked you to do. i'm sure you were doing it already. i hope you will look closely at this special requirement for protection. it seems to me that we have now all learned it applied to deepwater drilling, including a broad -- including the blowout preventers, which were not applied by mms before. the mr. chairman, whatever incidents that occurs, we learn lessons -- >> mr. chairman, with every incident that occurs, we learn lessons. the president has been very clear that further thewater drilling permits will not be issued until this -- deepwater the drilling permits will not be issued until this has been investigated and things have been changed -- deepwater drilling permits will not be issued until this has been
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investated and things have changed. what happened here? what should we -- what powers should we have that we did not have? what powers did we not exercise? was there over reliance on the b.o.p.? i think that we may perhaps -- there may be a few lawyers that it involved in some of that as litigation happens. the president was absolutely right last friday to say, this is not about who is responsible for paying. our work is to make sure that this well is capped, to make sure that it is cleaned up, to make sure that oil is prevented from making landfall, and when it does, that it is cleaned up, that all claims are paid and paid promptly. that is the definition of this response right now.
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>> thank you. senator colns. >> thank you, mr. chairman. there was responsibility for approval of the oil response plan between mms and the coast guard. in my statement, i raised the question of why would you not have the coast guard -- the coast guard have some sharing of information with the mms, such that the coast guard would be sponsible for some sort of concurrent approval of th plan? it does not make a lot of sense at first blush to have one agency responsible for approving the plan above the water for the vessel, and one -- a different agency in a different apartment -- different department responsible if the plant applies to the wellhead.
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has there been any thought to at least broadening the coast guard's responsibility in this area, madam secretary? >> senator collins, there will be a lot of different things that we looked at as to who has what a 40 and what authority needs to be adjusted in light of this -- who has what authority and what authority needs to be adjusted in light of this. that is one of the questions we're looking into. >> i concur with the secretary. moving forward, we need to look at whether or not there needs to be a definitive statement with regard to that. we do have memorandums of understanding with the mms which would allow us to review those plans, but there is no requirement to do so. >> this catastrophe is the first to be classied as a spill of national significance, since that term was coined in the wake of the exxon valdez disaster in
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1989. during the intervening 20-plus years, some have expressed the concern that because our nation has not been forced to respond to a major oil spill in such a long time that we have lost the expertise and institutional knowledge that is necessary for a quick and effective response. indeed, in 2004, when the coast guard did an exercise in this area, the after action report had some troubling conclusions. i want to read from that. the after action report concluded, "oil spill response personnel did not appear to have even a basic knowledge of the equipment required to support
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salvage or spill clean-up operation. there was a shortage of personnel would experience to fill key posions. many mid-levels bill management staff had never worked on a large spill, and some had never been involved in an exercise." i know there have been two subsequent exercises since the including the one hosted by the state of maine this spring, for which the after action report has not yet been written. what is your assessment of the expertise that we have today in vernment and in the industry to deal with a major oil spill? >> senator, i think you are referring to the 2004 drilling in los angeles and long beach harbor. i was a unified commander for that exercise. those were my recommendations that you just read that came out of that.
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but you tend to agree with them. >> i did at the time. -- >> you tend to agree with them. >> i did at that time. we have done a lot to improve our ability. if you look at the subsequent exercises in the intervening periodic annual and try annual exercises that we do, -- triannual exercises that we do, we have learned a lot. we have not had a major oil spill, but that does not keep us from preparing effectively for it. >> do we have that expertise now? >> clearly, if you are actually cleaning up oil, there is an expertise at you develop that cannot be developed in any other way. i think we have the capability now. we have a lot of people who look at this over an eended te period. you the capability in the private industry with respect to
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the organizations who are required to maintain expertise. we still have a number of ongoing minor spills that provide opportunities for training people in responding. we have the capability. in the ce of this oil spill, i have been very impressed. i've spent quite a bit of the st couple of weeks down in the gulf, around the area and at the command center, and watching the operations. i have been very impssed with what i have seen. >> madam secretary, you mentioned the federal resources that have been brought to bear on this catastrophe and the fact that the cows are -- the coast guard was on seen immediately. there have been some questions about whether resources -- the coast guard was on-scene immediately. there have been some questions about whether resources were
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dispersed immediately. search and rescue was not focused on containing the oil spill. what is your assessment of the resources, the adequacy, and the timeliness, of the resources that british petroleum and its partners brought to the task in those initial days? ask thought you're going to a different question. >> i thought about asking you whether you were satisfied with the federal response, but i have a feeling i know what the answer to that would-b, so i decided -- would be, so i decided to ask you about therivate sector response. >> i want to give you the, "of the federal response. recognizing that tha-- i
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wanted to give you the ticktock of the federal response. you can go on the 24th -- we began to see signs of leaking oil. on the 28, you had signs of the third week from the -- third leak from the riser. this was an evolve in a spill. -- an evolving spill. i would like to reserve judgment on the adequacy of the private- sector response. i will say that british petroleum leadership -- the american head of british petroleum and the international head were in washington very quickly. there were immediately assuming responsibility -- they were immediately assuming responsibility, which they should and have done. they have been in the command
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centers and in the staging areas. they have been working, in terms cleanup, and hiring local fisherman to help deploy a boom and the rest. whether the exact hours around the explosion and sinking of the vessel they should have had more or different equipment there or more different kinds of expertise there, it would be premature for me to say. >> thank you. >> thank you very much, senator collins. senator mccain in senator landrieu -- and senator landrieu. >> tnk you for being here. what is your best-case scenario and worse-case scenario about this crisis right now? >> obviously, we would like to see the insertion pipe continue
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to work and lift the oil off of the surface. we would like to see when and if the top killed methodology works and if the oil >> we, on the other hand, have from the beginning, not planned our response based upon numbers or based on 25,000 barrels. our response iseared to what is necessary to fight the oil on d.c., to prevent it from hitting land and if it hits, to clean it up immediately. >> worse case scenario?
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>> that is we will be at this for quite a while. >> where do you think we are in either scenario? >> the insertion is in right now and if it begins to lift oil, it looks promising, and they are able to do the film, that would happen by the end of the week. in terms of the drilling of the reliefell, we are some weeks away, well into the summer. there is a bp witness after me. you might ask him >> where is your level of optimism? >> i am taking it day by day and i think that is what we need to do. i think we need to say that we are in the middle of this crisis. we are not at the beginning.
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we have been added one month. -- at it one month. our job is to keep moving and to keep assembling, deploying, preparing, cleaning, and keeping track of what we are spending because ultimately, the taxpayer should not have to bear this cost. >> if you have dispatched 17,000 natural guarto help all and cleanup? >> there have been u to 17,000 that he been authorized. i believe there are about 1000 that are actually working right now. >> what do you expect? >> it depends. it depends on whether we continue to see oil reaching the shor it depends, we have to start rotating people in and out, in terms of the wing flights over the boom and monitoring it and
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replacing it. does not last forever ou there. it is broken. we have to replace people with staffing, the four operatg centers, and the like. over the course of this summer, we will see a number of the card deployed in those types of capacities. >> if you will indulge me, we think we have another crisis on the border and i sent you a letter on april 6 -- excuse me, back in march. he set me a letter back on april 9. and response to our request that the guard be sent to the arizona-mexico border. i quote and your response that the guard has the capabilities to assist in the law enforcement missions. the use of the guard to support
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law enforcement options are -- efforts are one ofhe options being considered. i will keep you informed as to our force multiplication along the southwest border continues. do you have anything to keep me informed about? >> i do. we have been working the southwest border iss constantly. if i might, senator, we will give your staff for have not already a more extensive bruising -- briefing. i will use as my start date the date of the murder of the rancher near douglas. we have increased flight hours to 50% over the tucson sector since the day of that murder. we have 24/7 coverage of their
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and we continue to increase the fixed and wrote her wing aircraft we are flying on the tucson sector. we have moved, and i will give you exact numbers come up mobile surveillance -- >> i did not mean to interrupt. i know all ose things are going on. i want to know as to whether you will send the guard to the border or not. >> as you know, let me give you one other thing we have added to numbers. that will be starting at the end of this month. we are beginning the process of interior repatriation of anybody we pick up. with respect to the guard, those requests involve the department of defense, homeland security,
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the white house. that request and that analysis remains in that interagency process do we have any ideas as to when that decision might be made? >> i would like it to be made as soon as possible but i canno give you a certain date. >> meanwhile, people's homes are being violated and their families cannot take kids to the bus stop. you are familiar with the issue because you asked the guard to go to the border back in 2006. i do not know what it takes for us to get a decision on it. it least the people in my state have the right to know whether, since this is a longstanding request, it was requested back in 2009, i think they have their right to know wheth they will be sent or not.
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i would hope that you would expedite that process and at least telling us whether they are going to be sent or not. finally, if i might ask, have you had a chance to review the new law that this passed by the state of arizona? >> i have not reviewed it in detail. i certainly know of it. >> you are not prepared to make a judgment on it? >> that is not a law, let me just say this, as you well know, that is not the type of law i would have signed. >> for what reason? >> because i believe that it is a bad law enforcement law. i believe that mandates that requires local law enforcement or puts them into a position they did not want to be placed in.
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when i was dealing with laws of that ilk, most of state law enforcement agencies in arizona at that time were opposed to such legislation. >> i would be pleased and right thing to hear what specific aspect of the law would impede or harm law enforcement since the majority of law enforcement in arizona strongly supports this legislation and unfortunately, both the president of the united states and others have betrayed a as somebody cannot go out to the ice cream -- without being harassed and that is one of the most every just statements i have ever heard. the attorney general condemned the lot and then said he has never even read it. this is an important issue not just in arizona but around this country. i would hope that we would at least have a decision about if the guard will be sent to the
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border and of like to have the specifics, if you have time. i know it is not in your area of expertise but i know is a former governor, you have a significant interest as to what particular aspects of that law that you would find objectionable thank you. >> thank you for being here. i appreciate that you are here and look forward to your questions. >> thank you. my job is made somewhat easier because of the work that you and the ranking member had done and i mean that sincerely. thank you for calling this hearing. i encourage deep collins of hearings by a variety of committees because the people i represent would like answers. they are extremely concerned.
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everybody along the gulf coast, particularly those along the coastal communities. i would like to begin by saying that the questions that you asked in your opening statement, i hope we get answers to them. i thought that they were excellent and right on point. secondly, madam secretary, i want to thank you for your multiple visits to louisiana over the last several months before this incident happened, working on the last incident that happened as well as your time focused on this one and the many senior level officials that have been on the ground from the coast guard to the interr department to noaa to the epa. have not just st the mid managers or newly appointed directors but your cabinet officials have been there and continue and i get a good feedback from the public officials because of that.
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i want to on their behalf express our thanks. i would say that the people and louisiana are very interested in a couple of important questions, some of which you hit. when wl this uncontrolled flow be stopped? is everything being done to possibly be done? when will claims be paid? will they be transparent? will they be adequate? what are the long-term impact to our fisheries? how can this industry be made safer for the future? i not going to ask you to respond to all four of those but in writing, i would like some response. i would like to take a minute of my questions to put some things into perspective for this situation. i think it is important. i did this of the oversight hearing on energy and at the oversight hearing for the epw and i would like to do today.
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there are over 42,000 wells that have been drilled in state and federal waters in the gulf of mexico alone. the first deep well was drilled 31 years ago. the first deep well, 31 years ago, in 1979. from that time and can predict until 2008, there have been 2239 deepwater wells drilled averaging approximately 133 wells per year. in 1990, only 4% of the oil coming from the gulf of mexico was responsible in the deep water. today, 60% of the oil coming from the gulf of mexico comes from deep water and alter the water. the record will show that from 1947 until 2009, only 1000 --
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175,000 barrels had been spilled out of 16 billion produced. that is about 1000 of 1% of production. until this happened, the record was good. the problem is, this blowout is putting more oil in the water in one and a half days that has been put in the water in the last decade. that is startling to those of us who are fairly familiar with the industry. we are extremely concerned and want it to be safer. i support theresident's 30 date look. i certainly support tighter controls over deep water wells and would say to the committee that we pioneered this technology. it is important that we get thi right becse it has a major impact on how these are drilled around the world. if ours are safe, most other countries will be safe. we have an obligation not just to ourselves but to the people
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of the planet. let me ask a couple of things. i am extremely interested in how much money to our government has spent on research and develoent either through homeland security, epa, noaa, or interior door? do you have a record for your own agency? do you know if any money and if so, the dollar amount or what percenta is spent on response to a catastrophe like this? if you do not have that number, could you give it to me in writing and perhaps comment generally on if you think homeland security is doing what it needs to do to be better prepared for an incident like this? >> as i said earlier, you learn from every incident. you begin with a plant then you exercise the plan but as any incide coordinator will tell
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you, you have to work the problem at that point. that is what we have been doing. i will tell you that we are accumulating the costs that we are expending in our response. that includes the coast guard. it would not be an insignificant sum. we have asked that the nrt other federal agencies keep track of the costs of the money they are spending. since we are in the middle of response, i think you would be premature to give you an estimate. >> i just want to restate on this, i note that we did not have the full estimate of the costs. i am assuming that bp is going to step up as they have said and cover all of these costs for individuals, businesses, the government at every level and i know that they have been forthcoming with some of the
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request, $25 million up to $1 million to some of the counties which has been impressive. we may need more than that. it is the research and development dollars in these major agencies and i am wondering, considering this industry, for bonuses and severance, have contributed $165 billion to the federal treasury since 1955. what percentage of our budget and their budget, i will be asking them, go to safety, equipment, new technology and cln up? we may need to invest more money to make sure this never happens again. we are going to try to collect that data. my time has expired. thank you. >> thank you.
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>> thank you. thank you for leading the effort on this. if i may, let me start with the secretary. i am assuming that you have already done quite a bit of work with the governors to understand the scope and the nature of their request and could you give us an outline on what you think these next few weeks might look like? >> we have representatives of the governor's and all of the various command centers. we have a daily call with the governors. we are working with them now on what the claims process should be for states and localities. we are cognizant of long-term
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costs that may occur, such as fisheries that have been closed already. we are working our way through that. this comes under another statute altogether. the difference is huge because under the stafford act, the taxpayers of the west pay for the response. under this one, the responsible party is going to pick. we are in the process of making sure there is a good and easy procedure for those claims to be made. >> let me ask the rear admiral neffenger, if i may, fema for example might burn to resources very rapidly on a major disaster. is that true with your agency
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and how you are dealing with this? >> as it -- as the secretary mentioned, we are spending money evy day to manage this response. as she also mentioned, with the act for 1990 pvides is the ability to reach into the o spill liability emergency tst fund to fund some of those initial response actions. there is an initial $50 million available. we can take a onetime transfer of another $100 million into that fund, which we have done and have been granted. that provides $150 million to the federal government for its response action. if that is primarily paying for coast guard activities at this point. >> either in this committee or other committees, we talk about the coast guard and was shot down on the gulf coast and many times.
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in many ways, you are under and you have older ships that you're trying to update and replace. has the fact you have been hampered from a budgetary sense, can you see this and how are you able to respond to this? our budget situation has not hamper a response initially to this. for any agency, long-term sustained response is something that becomes a challenge. that would be the case no matter how many people you have. sustainability is one of the critical concerns we are looking at. how do you do this if it were to go on for an expanded -- extended period of time? at some point, we have to look at the impact and the risk position we take throughout the rest of the countrys we pull ose resources from other parts of the country. >> i know tt your office and
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fema and many other federal and state and local agenciesry to anticipate various disasters and run through exercises to try to understand what would happen, will have you been doing this in years past with a major oil event like this? >> every three years, summer in the country, we do what we call a spill of nationals signicance. that is a full-scale deployment exercise where we stimulate a massive oil discharge of some sort the most recent one was on the northeastff the coast of portland, maine. we did a spill of national significance simulating a tanker oil spill. the one that senator collins referred to was one i have participated in off the southern coast of california.
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we do exercises for massive oil discharges periodically throughout the country. every zone where there is a done contingency plan, there is a cycle of exercises that are required to be conducted on an annual, biennial, and try annual basis. if we exercise quite a bit but those full-scale exercises are every three years and not necessarily in every zone. >> it sounds like those exercises have paid off and how you responded to this. >> i think they have. the response that we were able to mount to this spill is a significant improvement over what you might have seen 20 years ago prior to the exxon spill. there is a robust exercise oversight program that we have and they manage this program to about this country and watch the
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results. there is a lessons learned process for feeding what we have learned from those exercises, and we fight to -- we try to feed that into the way we would respond. my guess is more or less dending upon how well we can feedhat in. we think that we have a pretty robust exercise program. it is one that connects fedal, state, and local officials and the private sector to the extent that they can participate so you at least talk the same language and spend time together. >> thank you. thank you very much for your answers. i would like to note that in our subcommittee, the state, local, private sector prepared this subcommittee, we are having a hearing on may 25, to go into more detail about what each
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group has been doing. >> thank you. i would like to ask you if you would stick with us and we will do a second short round of no more than five minutes each. as i hear the questions back and forth, it seems that post-exxon valdez, the governmenand the oil industry worked together to get very good at dealing with a major spill at the surface but i still remain to be convinced that we did enough to prevent this deep water accident in the well from occurring and that we are ready to deal with the unbelievable consequences of it under water. in that regard, we have been reading in the last few days that there are scientists who believe and are reporting giant deep sea plumes of oil in the
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gulf as a result of this accident, one of which measured 10 miles long, 3 miles wide and 300 feet thick in spots. what are we capable of doing to try to break that up? if we do not, what is going to happen to it? the consequences for the environment areotentially very severe. >> indeed, mr. chairman. first of all, we have to be careful right now about what is being assumed about the undersea plume. the head of noaa put out a statementhis afternoon saying that some of those early reports that had been made were not based on observation and have not been verified and confirmed.
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>> that is important for us to hear. >> we obviously need to continue to watch the undersea plant to the extent one develops in addition to the top of the sea spill. that process is being looked at with a consortium of government scientists that continue to look at what is going on underneath the surface of the ocean, what is happening there, and i think the noaa director responded very strongly that some of these early statements have not been verified and seemed inaccurate. secondly, the epa has approved the undersea use of dispersants. as i mentioned, this is very novel. it is being done in a very controlled wait because every
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time we do something like that, you have to explore the environmental trade-offs that is being made. epa has a very rigorous protocol for how that will be done and continuous monitoringill happen. and those undersea dispersants are being injected and have been injected over the last few days. >> i appreciate hearing that. it sounds like we are experimenting because this is mething unprecedented and on anticipated by the regulatory process. admiral, but me ask you in so far as the coast guard has supervision over marine oil spillsis there not a danger that these enormous plumes will be taken by the current and moved far away from the actual
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source othe spill and that could have very wide ranging and that instrumental effects? i think you are referring to the loop current. we have been watching that very carefully. noaa is helping us to model the location. it currently shows to be somewhere in the neighborhood of 40 to 50 miles from the southern edge of this bill. as a result of that, we are preparing for potential impact on the southern florida coast. the other piece of that is it is likely that the kind of oil that will be picked up will be heavily weathered oil. if you are likely to see things like tar balls forming on the beaches which are a bit easier to manage. this is not saying this is a good thing. i think it will be a more manageable peace than what we
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are currently looking at out in the gulf. >> let me quickly ask you, have you encountered any underwater sea plumes of oil of the dimensions being discussed? >> no, sir. this is the first time i have seen the light that poses these types of complex ideas. >> secretary? >> i was just going to mention that in respect to the loop current, the numbers are being monitored very closely. and we are treating it as if it were its own coastline. other words, if we were to see that the oil rally was beginning to move toward the loop current, we would begin doing some this by way of dispersant and plumbing as if the loop current itself or a pie of the coast. >> thank you. senator collins. >> thank you. admiral, to follow up on the
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chairman's line of questioning, one of the concerns that i have is that nobody seems to reall know what to do when you have this big of a spill under water. when we followed the events in the press of the various ways that are being used to try to contain the spill, and plug the well, the impression that you get is that there is no plan. . . we kill lily have procedures for that purdah i am talking about
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plugging the well. >> i understand the perception. i have been involved a this is the third of may. the very first trip by may to houston to talk to the bp juniors, i would say that there is a technological solution to this. of technological improvements we're seeing play out. we need to determine what was actually going on down there because there is no human access to the site. everything we're seeing is through the lens of a remotely operated vehicle. that mas it challenging just to initially assessed what you actually have going on. i think the complexity it that u have a blowout preventer of that failed as it was designed. we do not know why that happened. will take some time to determine that. it may remain that be the solution that we could get that
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to the surface. we have a complicated 5000-ft riser across the seat for work -- along which there are a number of leaks. that complicated the determination and how best to approach it. and then a hard determination of the pressures that may be inside there. it will take time to accumulate the knowledge necessary to know that next afford. if this had hapned on the surface, you would see a much more rapid ability to come to closure on it. it's the death of below the service that makes it so challenging. the relief well has been held out of -- as the ultimate solution, whether it is the approach is that you have right now. is the relief well a sure thing? it is going to take a long time to bring it about.
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has this been done before? >> that is the question you want to address to the bp witnesses. >> i will, but i would like to know the admirals' opinion on that. i am not a pulliam -- petroleum engineer or geologist, but in talking to those that are, they have done relief wells before and i concur with the secretary that that is a good line of questioning for bp. the top kill, the technology they are using to plump the fluid into it, is attested fluid -- method. they have used that many time. when you're just done with the well, you put this in. i understand that that is a regular method for doing so. particularly for the blowup route as far as the relief well, i note that it is a challenge
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and the secretary alluded to the challenge to have a small well for at a distance of 18,000 feet. >> madam secretary, i just wanted to comment -- this includes $200 million for civilian and criminal trials of the detainees at guantanamo bay in the united states. since the coast guard keeps coming to the rescue over and over again, and since it is very difficult to find anyone who agrees with the plan to try guantanamo bay detainees in major cities, does it not make sense for the administration to submit a revised budget to support the coast guard using those funds? >> i would be happy to transmit that message to the white house.
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>> sounds like the beginning of a meeting of minds. i hope. senator landrieu. >> madam secretary, could i comment -- could you comment on a letter that i understand you received about a question we ask about the in addition to fulfill their obligations. a copy of that letter is in public record. would you comment on your understanding about what they wrote, which is pretty clear? we are prepared, they say, to pay $75 million on these claims and will not seek reimbursement from the u.s. government or from the trust fund. we reserve our right to recover from other parties that may be responsible. you have received this letter. what is your understanding of their response? >> my understanding is that they are going to pay all of the legitimate claims.
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i think they mean non-fraudulent claims. and without respect to any cap, whether or not it applies, but they seek the right to recover contribution of the likewise fromther entities such as transocean. >> let me ask you about claims. there are thousands of individuals and businesses that are concerned. some have alrea been directly affected. some are thinking they may be affected, and because there is somewhat uncertain about the situation, we do not know how long it will go on. it is important, i think, to try to be as clear as we can about how people might actually received assistance. a reading of the oil pollution regulations act indicates that the trust fund may not reimburse clients for the costs they incur in repairing and filing their claims -- preparing and
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filing their claims. i know you are trying -- your office the reports to you is trying to make this process as simple as possible, and i have been told by bp that they are trng to make it as simple as possible, but i am wondering if you can comment on the availability of technical assistance under the existing claims regime -- it is clear that people cannot be and reimburse for an accountant that they might have hired to get the documentation in order, they cannot be reimbursed for x, y, and z. we're trying to keep people from being out of pocket on anything. are you familiar have on how these claims are actually being paid? can you give any comment and get support from additional resources to help people? >> the continual and involving
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nature of this event and somof the questions that are being posted day are of all the answers as well. but there is a claims process, there are 800 numbers, there are roll over numbers if you cannot get through on that. bp has oped the way to file a claim on the internet. the issues you will raise -- how does someone get reimbursed for -- let's say you own a small business and you have had to hire someone to come in and get your records together about what lost properties you have had, because you're not able to sail during the season. those of the kinds of issues that we will now begin looking through. we have had some great people on the ground there working through these issues in the unified command center. you are rig -- they do report to me. they're the same people that help us with cleaning up the
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remaining katrina claims that were there when i came into office. so those of the kinds of things that we are working our way through. they are the kinds of things that i suggest that if your constituents are asking you, if you would fall or those questions to us so that we know -- the question has arisen out there, what is the answer? if there is not an answer that we can shoot it to you, it means at we're not work our way through it. >> i will submit it because we found this to be very helpful in providing some grant assistance to nonprofits and others on the ground assisting fishermen and sml businesses, because the documentation is important. you have to verify your claims are legitimate. but if you do that to some of these businesses, it costs them money torepare these documents and we want to make sure that we do not put businesses in the
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gulf coast at any more of the disadvantaged that they already are. they also need help applying for aid from other government prrams like sba loans, and this is money tt has been appropriated. so i thank you for your comments. my time has expired. i will for those request to you. >> thank you, senator landrieu. senator pryor has indicated he has no more questions. so secretary napolitano and rattled neffenger, thank you for your comments today. secretary, what you're doing with secretary salazar to come out with a reform package, the best way i can think about it, to make sure that we'd better prepare -- we'd better -- we better prepare for a deepwater exploration of this type, and for now thank you very much for what you are doing every day.
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we won all called to the stand our second panel, lamar mckay, chairman and president of bp america. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2010] >> mr. mckay, good afternoon. i appreciate you being here. you've heard but the questions and answers and that testimony of secretary napolitano and admiral neffenger.
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>> members of the committee, my name is lamar mckay and i am president and chairman of bp america. we have experienced a tragic set of events. nearly one month ago, 11 people were lost in the deep water rise andick -- horizon rig and 17 others were injured three my epest sympathies go out to the families and their friends who suffered such a terrible loss. those in the gulf coast communities are being severely impacted by this. and their livelihoods are being terribly impacted every day. i have sn the response first and. i have talked with the men and women on the frontines. there is a deep and steadfast resolve to do everything we humanly can to stop this. to stop the leak, to contain the
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spill, to fight it off shore, to fight it at the oreline, to clean it up, and to deal with the economic impact that it has caused and wl cause. as a responsible party we will carry out our responsibilities to mitigate the economic impacts of the incident. our efforts are part of t unified command that was established within hours of the incident. it provides a structure for our work with the department of interior, the department of homeland security, other federal agencies as well as state and local governments. we have pledged our commitment to work with president obama and members of his cabinet and the governors, congressional members, ste agencies, and local communities of
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mississippi, alabama, louisiana, texas, and florida. we appreciate the leadership, direction, and resources that they are all providing. i want to underscore at 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 what lies ahead and is working to deliver an effective response. at the wellhead, on the water, and on the shoreead. before i describe our our round- the-clock response to these events, i want to reiterate estimates to find out what happens. the are really two the lines of inquiry here. first is what caused the explosion and fire on board the transocean are rising region horizon rig. and why did the blowout preventer, the key fail-safe mechanism, fail?
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we're cooperating with the joint inquiry as well as investigations by congress. in addition, bp has commissioned an internal investigation whose results we plan to share so that we all learn from these terrible events. in the meantime, we cannot draw any conclusions before all the facts are known. 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 our response to the devastating event. now our sub sea efforts to stop the flow of efforts are advancing on several fronts. our immediate focus is on the riser injections insertion to that we talked about just prior. this involves placing a tapered riser to into the existing damaged riser, which is a
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primary source of the late, until the water tight closure is a cheap -- gas and oil then flows on moderate its own pressure up the roster to to the enterprise drill ship on the surface. we have successfully tested and inserted the tube into the leaking riser, capturing some oil and gas, and although this test was temporarily halted when the tube was dislodged, we of sense successfully reasserted the tube. 're now in the early stages of stabilizing the system aboard the enterprise. that is 5,000 feet above of the water surface. are additional effort is known as a top kill, a proven industry technique to capping wells that had been used worldwide, although never at 5,000 feet of water. it uses a tube to inject an mixture of fibrous material directly into the blowout preventer to block the flow.
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this procedure is ongoing and the attempt could take one to two weeks. we also developed a modified containments on strategy. as you know, initial efforts to place a large containments some of them may -- over the main the leak song was suspended because of methane crystals. a second smaller containment dome, being called a top hat, is actually on the sea bottom. it is designed to mitigate the flow of large volumes of hydrate. the technology has never been used at this depth. we're working to address the remaining thnological and operational challenges, should we need it. we alsoested injecting disbursement directly at th leak, on the seafloor, under this anbar model protectants the
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agency and cause court approval. it first acts by separating oil into small droplets that can break down more easily through natural processes before i reaches the surface. some are testing in areas of photographs showed encouraging results. the unified command supported by the epa and other agencies has approved additional sub-sea applications suect to ongoing protocol. we also ben the drilling of two relief wells on sunday may 2, and as of may 16, this well had reached approximately 9,000 feet below sea level. a second drill ship has arrived on site and yesterday began drilling a second relief well. the entire relief well operation could take approximately three months. finally, we ve succeeded in stopping the flow from one of the three existing lead points the damaged well. all this may not affect the overall flow rate, it should
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reduce the complexity of the situation to be dealt with on the seabed. on the open water, we have a fleet of more than 750 response vesselsthat had been mobilized. in addition to using approved by a degradable disbursement at t weak point, we're attacking this bill with epa and coast guard approved disbursements on the surface. to protect the shoreline, we are implementing but the u.s. -- what the u.s. coast guard has caused the most massive shoreline protection effort ever mounted. awesomely 1.7 million of boons were not deployed with that additional be available. 17 staging areas are in place and many volunteers have come for to offer their services. to ensure the rapid implementation of state contingency plans, we provided
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$25 billioto louisiana, mississippi, alabama, and florida. we recognize that beyond the environmental impact, there are also economic impact in many of the people who rely on the gulf for their livelihood. bp will pay all necessary cleanup costs and is committed to paying al legitimate claims for other loss and damage is caused by this bill. -- this spill. we are expediting payments to individuals and small-business owners whose livelihood have been directly impacted by this bill. the men and women who are temporarily unable to work. we paid out over $13 million to claimants, mostly in the form of lost income interim payments. we continued to replace this income for as long as the situation warrants. we're responding to claims as quickly and efficiently as possible. starting this week, we will have been placeon online claims
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filing system, and our call center is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. we have 12 walk-in claims offices opened in louisiana, mississippi, alabama, and florida, and we will open at least five more this week. their staff by nearly 700 people with almost 350 experienced claimed adjustors working in the impacted communities. we will continue adding people, offices, and resources for as long as required. we're striving to be responsive and fair. we're taking guidance from the establish rulations and other information provided by the u.s. coast guard, which handles and resolve the types of claims. tragic as this acciden was, we must not lose sight of why bp and other energy companies are operating in the offshore, including the gulf o mexico. the goal provides on in 3 barrels of oil produced in the united states. it is a resource our economy
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requires. bp and the entire energy industry are under no illusions about the challenges that we face. we know that we will be judged by our response to this crisis. we intend to do everything in our power to bring this well under control, to mitigate the environmental impact, and to address economic claims in a responsible manner. no resource available to this company will be spirit. i can assure you that we and the entire industry will learn om this terrible event and emerge from its stronger, smarter, and safer. thk you f the opportunity to appear before you today. i stand ready to answer your questions. >> thanks, mr. mckay. i appreciate your statement. i know that the company has been doing everything that it has been asked to do and sometimes
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more since the accident occurred. i want to come back to the line of question that worries me as we try to learn what happened. the fact is that in recent years bp and other energy companies have been increasingly drilling for oil in deep water. and as bp representatives had indicated, including yourself, i think, in this crisis, deep water presents a different sets of challenges from other offshore oil drilling. as i look at this process, it seems to me that the mineral manages -- minerals management service did not ask us enough of you and oher companies doing deep water drilling. the companies did not do enough themselves, including bp, to prepare for an accident just
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like the one that has curred. very briefly by way of background, i noticed there was the udy referred to me the other day, financed at least in part by bp -- you may be familiar with it. it said that blowouts' will always happen no matter how far technology and training in dance. another press report which i have not confirmed but i believe is correct says that blowout preventers have failed in as many as 14 other acdents since 2005, although obviously none has consequential -- none as consequential as this. so the metal management services required an oil spill response plan. but if i looked at it, if mostly tends to be all plan related to
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effects on the surface. although in oneart of it, you were required to address the effect of anon "-- uncontrolled blowout resulting in oil flowing for 30 days from deepwater, i do not think at this depth. there is nothing in the plan that ic that addresses -- i see that addresses how you stop the leak under the water. soy question is, as you look back at this now, as your company has been jolted, and evenhough it is a massive company, its economic strength has been threatened by this accident -- why wasn't more
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done as mor of deepwater drilli was done to deal with the consequences of an accident if it occurred at that depth? >> this as you know is a unique and unprecedented event. the spillesponse plans that are required by regulation are extensive. i could talk about that in detail. in the sub-sea, as you rightly point out, there are no major regulations requiring sub-sea intervention pla. as we look at this accident in hindsight, we will have to look at what kind of sub-seat intervention capability is planned or could be available. i would like to say that as the sub-seat resources are tremendous, we have to read deep water rigs working
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simultaneously in an unprecedented situation. >> i do not all of you on the research situation. i know that you've done everything it possibly could. ut to me, the tragedy of this is that when that. >> was first lowered over the leak -- that a dome was first lowered over the leaked at such temperatures and high pressure, it struck me that if you had than ask by government or chose yourself to test that system before an actual blow out, you would have known that gas hydrates would form and that would be ineffective. we have been watching and you must feel as much distress as the rest of us at how this scurrying around to try to find a way to close elite at -- the
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leak at that depth. i feel that the government -- i did the government should have demanded, the mineral management services should have required it before giving a permit that there be a plan to deal with this kind of explosion, or you should it your own economic focus should have done it yourself. >> could i comment on that? >> please. >> the work that is going on is multie parallel, simultaneous to try to get this under control. he mentioned the hydrates, we knew that hydrates could be a problem for that is something that we could try and get going and try to get it to work. this fluid is very specific in you do not know until you try it. one of the complicating factors in this situation, we've got a blowout preventer that should have worked. we've got manual intervention at
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the man it -- if the blowup prevented it did not work. and now we have riser package on top of that that did not release. in many blowout situatns, you mentioned 14 around the world, there have been more. you can get on top of the blowout preventer. this event has lakes along the riser. it is very unique. understanding sub-sea intervention capabity and what are the plans, the plan as a model -- where the resources, how'd you get them -- i agree that that needs to be looked at. >> i appreciated and i agree that that is the case. we also agree that too much reliance was put on a blowout preventer. i am not an expert and i know more than i did before come but as i see a blowout preventer, it
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is a piece of equipment that sometimes fails, particularly operating in unusual environments like 5,000 feet under the water surface. as you look back, did you in the government put too much faith in the blowout preventer as the last line of defense? >> it is one of several lines of defense. it is considered a fail-safe mechanism when you get into an emergency situations. there are other lines of defense that have to fail before you get there like the cement casing, and then well control procedures, and the blowout preventer is considereto be the methodology when you get in trouble to shut the well and release t rig and let it get away. i cannot comment until we know what h happened. double final question and then i will yield to senator columns. on the reef wells being dug, it's quite remarkable that there are two of them -- two ways to
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get to where the problem is way under the surface under the water. which one gets there first -- two quick questions. the same question i asked the coast guard -- do you have a high degree of confidence that if everything else fails before then, that this is the one that that that will work? >> we do have a high level of confidence that the relief well will be -- will wor relief wells are used to control blowouts and permanently seal weld. yes, we have a high degree of confidence. >> i appreciate hearing that. if as you said quite openly and directly that it could take three months, if all else fails this well could be spelling
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water into the gulf -- do you account from the day of the accident or drilling started? >> roughly three months to drill each well. >> this could take us to the end of july or august. >> we are doing everything that we can. and trying to stop a head of that. >> understood. >> mr. mckay, i know that bp is trying it can think of to stop as well from gushing. it feels like you are making it up as you go along, that no one really knows what will plug this well, what will stop the oil from gushing, particularly since this has been so complex because you are dealing with a leak in the riser pipe. it is not one source of leaking.
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what i am trying to better understand is the response plan. i do not doubt at all that you were throwing everything possible at this problem and you have extremely talented people working night and day and that you are fully cooperating with the government', but i am concerned that it seemed that no one had really planned for this particular scenario. is that accurate? is that perception correct? >> let me first say that this is an industry effort, not just bp. we have over 90 companies working just in the houston fice to get the intervention that we are talking about done. there was not a response plan for saying -- per se for riser blow out on the relief bed.
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the plan for relief wells was not cemented but was available to be worked up very quickly. the other options that we're pursuing, the first and foremost was to get th blowout preventer closed. we had to do that in a situation where it has never been done before and we run into some issues with a blowout prevention that did not allow that to happen. while we're doing that, we were pursuing containment and collection systems, one that did not work very well, relief wells, and the surface responses that we plan. as well as a way to kill the well from the top of the blowout for vendor. one thing the admiral mentioned earlier that i want to highlight, it has taken awhile to see inside that blowout preventer and understand the pressures. you can raise and pressure probes to understand what is happening. then we an delineate and reduce risks for the next set of
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interventions. unfortunately we are frustrating -- we're frustrated as anyone that its taken this time toward we want a risk analysis at around everything that is important and we're being diligent about that. it is transparent as well so everyone sees exactly what we're doing. i would say thawe're not scrambling around three know, i cannot say that we have a plan to head all of these intervention at this but those were triggered from day one to get going on all of these options as quickly as we possibly can. >> bp did file a regional response plan for the gulf of mexico. in that plan, the worst case scenario that you present for offshore drilling is one of high as capacity well experiences an uncontrolled flow out volume of 250,000 barrels per day.
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that is way more than this terrible blow out. what is different? is it that debt of the water -- the depth of the water? was this plan for shallow water? >> the response plan you mentioned contemplates worst- case scenarios. the planning itself envisions what resources are available in the gulf coast, how would they be organized, how would they be deployed, details about who would be called win, and how the resources would be blocked in. whether it was a higher rate volume or other, we're enacting the plan with the coast guard and homeland security and other agencies, noaa, as you have heard. that plan has formed the basis for what we're doing. that plan has been robust and i think it is the largest effort


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