Tony Hayward Grilled by Congressional Committee

The US Energy Committee is grilling Tony Hayward about the Deepwater Horizon explosion and the oil spill today. Here are some excerpts from his testimony this morning:

The explosion and fire aboard the Deepwater Horizon and the resulting oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico never should have happened, and I am deeply sorry that they did. None of us yet knows why it happened. But whatever the cause, we at BP will do what we can to make certain that an incident like this does not happen again.

…let me be very clear: I fully grasp the terrible reality of the situation…When I learned that 11 men had lost their lives in the explosion and fire on the Deepwater Horizon, I was personally devastated.

From the moment I learned of the explosion and fire, I committed the global resources of BP to the response efforts. To be sure, neither I nor the company is perfect. But we are unwavering in our commitment to fulfil all our responsibilities. We are a strong company, and nothing is being spared. We are going to do everything in our power to address fully the economic and environmental consequences of this spill and to ensure that we use the lessons learned from this incident to make energy exploration and production safer and more reliable for everyone.

The Washington Post has additional highlights:

(During his opening remarks, Hayward was) interrupted by a woman at the back of the hearing room who held up hands apparently covered in oil and screamed, “You need to go to jail!” A commotion ensued as security guards arrested her and took her out of the room.

Earlier, Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, told Hayward that a review of 30,000 BP documents found “no evidence that you paid any attention to the tremendous risks BP was taking.”

But the committee’s top Republican, Rep. Joe L. Barton (Tex.), offered a personal apology to Hayward and instead took aim at President Obama, saying he was “ashamed” by Wednesday’s White House deal in which BP agreed to set up a $20 billion escrow fund to deal with economic and environmental claims. Barton called it a “shakedown.”

Hayward said that “neither I nor the company is perfect,” but that “we are unwavering in our commitment to fulfill all our responsibilities.” He said BP has spent nearly $1.5 billion since the explosion and vowed that it will not rest until the leaking well is plugged and the spill cleaned up.

Read more about this morning’s hearing here.

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