June 15, 2010

CARDIN, MIKULSKI, CUMMINGS DISCUSS FEDERAL RESPONSE TO BP OIL SPILL FOLLOWING RECENT VISITS TO THE GULF COAST

WHAT AN OIL SPILL COULD MEAN FOR MARYLAND

Baltimore, MD - Following up on their recent visits to the Gulf of Mexico to view the damage being done by the BP oil spill, U.S. Senators Benjamin L. Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski and U.S. Congressman Elijah Cummings (all D-MD) gathered at the National Aquarium, Baltimore today to voice their concerns about the current responsiveness of BP and the need for the federal government to do even more to take charge of the situation.

 

"Oil is going to be spilling into the Gulf of Mexico for the next few months but the damage will grow and ripple through the environment and economy of this nation for generations. Our first priority is to stop the flow of oil," said Senator Cardin.   "Oil was pretty much everywhere. You truly can't comprehend the scale of the disaster until you see it firsthand. Fishermen and other hardworking Americans we met are seeing their jobs and way of life threatened every day this spill continues.   Oil is killing marine wildlife, too, destroying some of America's most important commercial fisheries, and fouling fragile barrier islands, crucial wetlands, and previously pristine beaches along the Gulf Coast. BP will be held fully accountable for the damage they have caused, but it is up to us to ensure that the federal responders do everything possible to mitigate this damage and provide appropriate relief."

 

"No matter what the energy policy, I will always oppose offshore drilling along the mid-Atlantic coast," Senator Mikulski said. "As I stood there and talked to the people whose livelihoods depend on the gulf, I understood why we can never let that happen to our communities. When we hear about places like Louisiana, Grand Isle and Pelican Island, I think about Ocean City, Fenwick Island and Assateague, our own barrier island. BP is responsible for this disaster, and instead of treating it like another government agency, the Coast Guard needs to take BP to task, create performance standards and ensure follow through in the cleanup efforts."

 

"I am committed to making sure this situation can never happen again ," said Congressman Cummings. "We must first stop the oil spill that is leading to the absolute devastation I saw in the Gulf. I met fishers and shrimpers in Louisiana who wept in front of me, both for their own livelihood and for those of generations yet unborn. While they will be compensated by BP, who must pay every single dime they owe for the incredible travesty that has occurred in the Gulf, those who ply their trade in those waters are likely to be unable to do so for an unforeseen period of time. After the immediate destruction has ended, and we see the terrible future it creates, and understand how it came to be. From now on, technology that has the capacity to destroy so much must be regulated and inspected prior to use. If we do not have the capability to recover from the worst case scenario of the use of that technology, it cannot proceed."    

 

On Friday, June 11, Senator Cardin, Chairman of the Water and Wildlife Subcommittee of the Environment and Public Works Committee, led a Congressional Delegation trip to the Gulf to view the damage caused by the BP oil spill and to assess its effect on water quality and wildlife.  Senator Mikulski, who has oversight of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) as Chairman of the Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee, also joined Senator Cardin on the trip. Both Senators Cardin and Mikulski have called for a permanent moratorium on any oil or gas exploration or drilling off the

Atlantic Coast .

 

Congressman Cummings is the Chairman of the House Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee and a member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.  He has visited the

Gulf Coast twice and has participated in two congressional hearings on the oil spill.