Energy & Commerce Committee's Investigation of the Deepwater Horizon Explosion and Oil Spill

Nov 15, 2012

The Committee on Energy and Commerce has played a key role in investigating the causes and impacts of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion and oil spill.

Markey, Waxman to Continue Probe of Presence of New Oil Sheen Near Macondo Well
 
December 7, 2012
Reps. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.) sought information from the U.S. Coast Guard regarding BP and Transocean’s plan to re-inspect the underwater wreckage and the well head from the Deepwater Horizon disaster using subsea remotely operated vehicles (ROVs). The need to re-inspect the area stems from the detection of an oil sheen on November 2, 2012, the second such incident inside of two months.

Letter to Admiral Papp, Commandant, U.S. Coast Guard, from Reps. Markey and Waxman, December 7, 2012
 
Markey, Waxman Press BP on Macondo Oil Slick

October 16, 2012
The two leading Congressional investigators into the BP oil spill pressed the company to turn over any and all information related to the recent Gulf of Mexico oil slick that has been sourced from BP's Macondo well. Reps. Henry A. Waxman and Ed Markey wrote BP to ask them about the plan approved by the U.S. Coast Guard to inspect the well site, the wreckage of the Deepwater Horizon, and the surrounding area. 
 
Letter to BP CEO Robert Dudley, October 16, 2012
 
Ranking Members Waxman and Markey Release GAO Report on Subsea Well Containment Capabilities After Deepwater Horizon
March 29, 2012
Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Henry A. Waxman and Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member Edward J. Markey released a report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) evaluating the oil industry’s capabilities for containing subsea wells and the federal government’s oversight in the wake of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil explosion and subsequent spill.
GAO Report: Oil and Gas, Interior Has Strengthened Its Oversight of Subsea Well Containment, but Should Improve Its Documentation, February 2012
 
Reps. Waxman and DeGette Urge Federal Investigators to Examine Transocean’s Extended Worker Shift
April 4, 2011
Rep. Henry A. Waxman, Ranking Member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, and Rep. Diana DeGette, Ranking Member of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, urged the Chemical Safety Board and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement to examine the potential role that Transocean’s decision to extend its worker shift schedule may have played in the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion.
Letter to Chairman Moure-Eraso, April 4, 2011
Letter to Hon. Broomwich, April 4, 2011 
 
Rep. Waxman Responds to Request for Transcript Release
March 23, 2011
In response to a joint request from counsels for Halliburton and Jesse Gagliano, Rep. Henry A. Waxman released text of a transcribed interview the Committee conducted on June 11, 2010 with Mr. Gagliano as part of the Committee's investigation of the Deepwater Horizon incident.
Interview Transcript Request, March 17, 2011
Letter Response from Ranking Member Waxman, March 23, 2011
Transcript of Telephone Interview with Jesse Marc Gagliano, June 11, 2010
 
House Democrats Introduce Oil Spill Reform Bill
January 26, 2011
House Democrats introduced new, revamped legislation to reform and renew the practices and oversight of the offshore oil industry following the worst oil spill in U.S. history. The legislation reflects the recommendations of the independent oil spill commission tasked with investigating the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, and the practices of the oil industry. The bill, called the Implementing the Recommendations of the BP Oil Spill Commission Act, also includes elements from the oil spill response bill that House Democrats passed in July of 2010.
 
Chairman Waxman's Statement on the BP Oil Spill Report
September 8, 2010
Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry A. Waxman issued the following statement in response to the release of BP’s internal investigative report on the causes of the Deepwater Horizon incident:
“The BP report raises many questions about the conduct of its partners, but few about its own actions.  The report provides new insights about potential mistakes made by Transocean and Halliburton.  These are issues that Congress and other investigators should take seriously.  But the report glosses over the role and responsibility of BP.  It regrettably does not address the corporate culture at BP that shortchanged safety and caused so much harm to the Gulf and the Deepwater Horizon workers.”
 
Chairmen Request Information on BP's Corporate Advertising and Marketing
Chairman Henry A. Waxman and Subcommittee Chairman Bart Stupak sent a letter to Lamar McKay, Chairman and President of BP America, Inc., to follow up on a request by Committee Member, Representative Kathy Castor, for information on BP’s spending on corporate advertising and marketing relating to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and relief, recovery, and restoration efforts in the Gulf of Mexico.
More...
Documents

 
H.R. 3534, the Consolidated Land, Energy, and Aquatic Resources (CLEAR) Act
The Committee on Energy and Commerce has held nine hearings into the chain of events that caused the blowout of BP’s Macondo well and its impacts on the Gulf Coast.  The hearings revealed that BP and its partners made a series of risky decisions that undermined well safety and led to the catastrophic loss of well control.  As a legislative response to the disclosures, the Committee crafted the Blowout Prevention Act of 2010 (H.R. 5626) to establish new federal regulatory requirements to prevent future spills from oil and gas wells.  This bill was reported by the Committee on Energy and Commerce by a bipartisan vote of 48 to 0, with one abstention, on July 15, 2010.
More...
Documents

 
Hearing on “The BP Oil Spill and Gulf Coast Tourism:  Assessing the Impact”
July 27, 2010
The Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection held a hearing entitled “The BP Oil Spill and Gulf Coast Tourism:  Assessing the Impact,” on Tuesday, July 27, 2010, in 2123 Rayburn House Office Building.  The hearing explored both the damages suffered by the tourism industry in the Gulf region and the process by which the independent Gulf Coast Claims Facility will evaluate tourism-related claims.
Documents

Testimony

Video
WMV
Download or Stream
 
Committee Requests Details on Deepwater Horizon’s Safety Practices and Equipment Condition
July 23, 2010
Chairman Henry A. Waxman and Subcommittee Chairman Bart Stupak sent a letter to Transocean Ltd. seeking information on safety practices on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig and the condition of the oil rig’s equipment.  The Committee’s request follows questions raised by the Committee’s investigation, recent media accounts, and statements made by Deepwater Horizon oil rig workers.
Documents

 
Joint Subcommittee Hearing on "The Role of the Interior Department in the Deepwater Horizon Disaster"
The Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations and the Subcommittee on Energy and Environment held a joint hearing entitled “The Role of the Interior Department in the Deepwater Horizon Disaster,” on Tuesday, July 20, 2010, in 2123 Rayburn House Office Building.  The hearing examined the Interior Department’s actions before and since the Deepwater Horizon explosion on April 20, 2010.
Witnesses

  • The Honorable Gale Norton, Former Secretary, Department of the Interior, 2001-2006
  • The Honorable Dirk Kempthorne, Former Secretary, Department of the Interior, 2006-2009
  • The Honorable Ken Salazar, Secretary, Department of the Interior

Documents

Testimony

 
H.R. 5626, the Blowout Prevention Act of 2010
The Blowout Prevention Act (H.R. 5626) establishes new federal regulatory requirements to prevent future spills from oil and gas wells.  These new requirements apply to all oil and gas wells on the Outer Continental Shelf and to other high-risk wells that could cause extensive and widespread harm to public health and safety or the environment in the event of a blowout.
More...
Documents

 
Full Committee Markup of the “Blowout Prevention Act of 2010”
July 15, 2010
The Committee met in open markup session on Thursday, July 15, 2010, at 9:30 a.m. in room 2123 Rayburn House Office Building.  More...
H.R. 5626, the “Blowout Prevention Act of 2010”
(ordered favorably reported to the House, amended, by recorded vote, 48-0, 1 present)

Video
WMV
Download or Stream

 
Chairmen Request Information Regarding Abandoned Gulf Wells
July 15, 2010
Chairmen Henry A. Waxman and Ed Markey sent a letter to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar requesting information on abandoned oil and gas wells in the Gulf of Mexico.
Documents

 
Committee Examines Long-Term Health Effects Experienced By Oil Spill Response Workers
July 1, 2010
Chairman Henry A. Waxman, Subcommittee Chairman Bart Stupak, and Subcommittee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. sent a letter to the Exxon Mobil Corporation requesting documents related to health effects experienced by workers involved in the response to the Exxon Valdez oil spill.  This inquiry is part of the Committee’s ongoing investigation of the Deepwater Horizon incident and subsequent spill.
Documents

 
Hearing on Legislation to Respond to the BP Oil Spill and to Prevent Future Oil Well Blowouts
June 30, 2010
The Subcommittee on Energy and Environment held a legislative hearing entitled “Legislation to Respond to the BP Oil Spill and to Prevent Future Oil Well Blowouts.”

Testimony

Additional Documents

Video
WMV
Download or Stream
 

Waxman, Markey, Stupak Question Oil Companies on Spill Response Plans
June 28, 2010
Reps. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), and Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) sent letters to the CEOs of the ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips, Shell, and Chevron oil companies, requesting more information on the companies’ oil spill response plans.
As part of its investigation into the BP oil spill, the Committee on Energy and Commerce revealed that the major oil companies had response plans that were practically identical, and included references to walruses in the Gulf of Mexico and emergency contact information for long-deceased experts.
More...
Documents

 
Hearing on “The Role of BP in the Deepwater Horizon Explosion and Oil Spill”
June 17, 2010
The Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations held a hearing entitled “The Role of BP in the Deepwater Horizon Explosion and Oil Spill” on Thursday, June 17, 2010, in 2123 Rayburn House Office Building. The hearing examined what caused the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig and the oil spill that continues to spread across the Gulf of Mexico.
Documents

Testimony

Video
WMV
Part 1 - Download or Stream
Part 2 - Download or Stream
Part 3 - Download or Stream
More: Chairmen Send Letter to BP CEO Prior to Hearing
 
Hearing on “HHS Actions to Identify and Address Health Effects of the BP Oil Spill”
June 16, 2010
The Subcommittee on Health held a hearing entitled “HHS Actions to Identify and Address Health Effects of the BP Oil Spill” on Wednesday, June 16, 2010, in room 2123 Rayburn House Office Building. The hearing examined how the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is responding to the public health risks associated with the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.
Witnesses

  • John Howard, M.D., M.P.H., J.D., LL.M., Director, National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Mike Taylor, J.D., Deputy Commissioner for Foods, Food and Drug Administration
  • Lisa Kaplowitz, M.D., M.S.H.A., Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response
  • Aubrey Miller, M.D., M.P.H., Senior Medical Advisor, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health

Documents

Testimony

Video
WMV
Download or Stream
 
Hearing on “Drilling Down on America’s Energy Future: Safety, Security, and Clean Energy”
June 15, 2010
The Subcommittee on Energy and Environment held a hearing entitled “Drilling Down on America ’s Energy Future: Safety, Security, and Clean Energy” on Tuesday, June 15, 2010, in 2123 Rayburn House Office Building .
Documents

Testimony

Hearing Documents

Additional Documents

Video
WMV
Download or Stream
 
Chairmen Send Letter to BP CEO Prior to Hearing
June 14, 2010
Chairmen Henry A. Waxman and Bart Stupak sent a letter to Tony Hayward, Chief Executive Officer of BP, prior to his testifying before the Committee, detailing the questions the investigation has raised about BP decisions in the days and hours before the Deepwater Horizon explosion.
Documents

 
 
Hearing on “The BP Oil Spill: Human Exposure and Environmental Fate”
June 10, 2010
The Subcommittee on Energy and Environment held a hearing entitled “The BP Oil Spill: Human Exposure and Environmental Fate” on Thursday, June 10, 2010, in 2123 Rayburn House Office Building. The hearing examined some of the potential impacts to humans and the environment that are associated with the spill.
Witnesses

  • Chris Reddy, Ph.D., Associate Scientist, Department of Marine and Geochemistry, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
  • Edward J. Trapido, Sc.D., F.A.C.E., Associate Dean for Research, Professor and Wendell Gauthier Chair of Cancer Epidemiology, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, New Orleans, School of Public Health
  • Gina Solomon, M.D., M.P.H., Environmental Protection Agency Science Advisory Board; Senior Scientist, National Resources Defense Council; Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine, University of California San Francisco; Associate Director, University of California San Francisco Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit

Documents

Testimony

Video
WMV
Download or Stream

 
Briefing on “Beneath the Surface of the BP Spill: What’s Happening Now, What’s Needed Next”
June 9, 2010
The Subcommittee on Energy and Environment held a briefing entitled “Beneath the Surface of the BP Spill: What’s Happening Now, What’s Needed Next” on Wednesday, June 9, 2010, in 2123 Rayburn House Office Building.
Witnesses

  • Tadeusz W. Patzek, Ph.D., Professor and Chair, Department of Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering, University of Texas, Austin
  • Thomas M. Leschine, Ph.D., Director, School of Marine Affairs, University of Washington
  • Samantha B. Joye, Ph.D., Professor of Marine Sciences, University of Georgia
  • Richard Haut, Ph.D., Senior Research Scientist, Houston Advanced Research Center
  • Philippe Cousteau, CEO, EarthEcho International

Documents

Video
WMV
Download or Stream

 
Chairmen Request CSB Investigation of Deepwater Horizon Blowout
June 8, 2010
Today Chairman Henry A. Waxman and Subcommittee Chairman Bart Stupak sent a letter to the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) to ask it to conduct a full and thorough investigation into the causes of the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig. CSB has investigated other BP incidents in the past, and their knowledge may help to provide a broader understanding of BP’s safety culture and practices.
 
Documents

 
Subcommittee Field Hearing on “Local Impact of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill”
June 7, 2010
The Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations held a field hearing entitled “Local Impact of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill” on Monday, June 7, 2010, in Chalmette, Louisiana. The hearing examined the impact of the oil spill at the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig site on the Gulf region.

Testimony

Video
WMV
Download or Stream

 
Committee Releases Memo & Documents Concerning Issues Raised in Recent News Media Accounts Related to the Deepwater Horizon Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill
May 30, 2010

The Committee on Energy & Commerce released a memo and documents concerning issues raised in recent news media accounts related to the Deepwater Horizon Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill.
 
Documents

 
Committee Examines BP’s Emergency Oil Spill Response Service Agreements
May 28, 2010

Chairman Henry A. Waxman and Subcommittee Chairman Bart Stupak sent letters to four organizations requesting documents related to BP’s and Transocean’s response plans.
More...
Documents

 
Subcommittee Hearing on "Combating the BP Oil Spill"
May 27, 2010
The Subcommittee on Energy and Environment will hold a hearing entitled “Combating the BP Oil Spill” on Thursday, May 27, 2010, in 2123 Rayburn House Office Building. The hearing will examine the ongoing response to the oil spill at the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig site, which is now spreading across the Gulf of Mexico.
Documents

Testimony

Video
Download or Stream
 
Chairmen Send Letter to BP Regarding Internal Investigation
May 27, 2010
Chairman Henry A. Waxman and Subcommittee Chairman Bart Stupak sent a letter to Lamar McKay, Chairman and President, BP America, seeking clarification regarding information provided to the Committee in its ongoing investigation into the causes of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Rig Spill. Specifically, documents provided to the Committee by BP do not mention any inquiry into the questionable well design choices made by BP that are described in recent media reports.
Documents

 
Committee Releases Details of BP's Internal Incident Investigation
May 25, 2010
Chairmen Henry A. Waxman and Bart Stupak sent a memo to Committee members summarizing the information presented by BP to Committee staff on the progress of its internal investigation of the causes of the blowout and oil spill.

 
Bipartisan Briefing On Oceans Under Siege: Environmental Impacts Of The BP Oil Spill
May 21, 2010
Witnesses

  • Sylvia Earle, Ph.D., Explorer-in-Residence, National Geographic Society
  • Carys L. Mitchelmore, Ph.D., Associate Professor, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science - Chesapeake Biological Laboratory
  • Carl Safina, Ph.D., President and Co-Founder, Blue Ocean Institute<
  • John Haines, Ph.D., Program Coordinator, USGS Coastal and Marine Geology Program

Documents

Video
WMV
Download or Stream

 
Subcommittee Briefing on "Sizing up the BP Oil Spill: Science and Engineering Measuring Methods"
May 19, 2010
The Subcommittee on Energy and Environment held a briefing entitled, “Sizing up the BP Oil Spill: Science and Engineering Measuring Methods,” on Wednesday, May 19, 2010, at 2:00 p.m. in room 2123 of the Rayburn House Office Building.
Witnesses

  • Steve Wereley, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Purdue University
  • Richard Camilli, Associate Scientist, Applied Ocean Physics and Engineering, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
  • Michael Freilich, Director of the Earth Science Division, NASA
  • Frank Muller-Karger, Professor of Biological Oceanography and Remote Sensing, University of South Florida

Documents

Video
WMV
Download or Stream
 
Hearing on “Inquiry into the Deepwater Horizon Gulf Coast Oil Spill”
May 12, 2010
The Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations held a hearing examining what caused the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig and the oil spill now spreading across the Gulf, in order to help prevent future incidents and inform the direction of our national energy policy.

Opening Statements

Hearing Documents

Testimony

Video
WMV
Part 1: Download or Stream
Part 2: Download or Stream

 

    Committee Members Visit Gulf Coast to Investigate Oil Spill
    May 7, 2010
    Energy & Commerce Subcommittee Chairman Ed Markey led a bi-partisan delegation of Committee members to the Gulf of Mexico to investigate the massive oil spill threatening the Gulf coast region.
    More...
     
    Committee Requests Cameron CEO to Testify
    May 6, 2010

     
    Committee Requests Documents on Blowout Preventer
    May 3, 2010

     
    Subcommittee Announces Hearing on the Deepwater Horizon Rig Oil Spill
    April 30, 2010

     
    Committee Requests Information on Halliburton's Cementing Activities at the Deepwater Horizon Rig
    April 30, 2010

     
    Committee Seeks Details on Functioning of Blowout Preventer & Other Safety Measures in the Deepwater Horizon Rig Oil Spill
    April 29, 2010

     
    Committee Investigates Adequacy of Environmental Response Plan in Deepwater Horizon Oil Rig Explosion
    April 27, 2010

     
    Chairmen Send Letters to BP America & Transocean
    April 22, 2010