Sen. Murkowski: Answers to Deepwater Horizon Tragedy Vital to Nation’s Energy Security

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today led questioning of the companies involved in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill for a full explanation of what went wrong on the Gulf of Mexico drilling rig and what steps can be taken to minimize such risks in the future.

"We often cite our nation's strict safety and environmental laws for oil and gas development as a means to reassure Americans that we can responsibly develop our resources, but this argument will ring hollow if those stringent laws are not enforced equally stringently and objectively," Murkowski said. "Many times I have said that there are words and then there are actions - and actions necessarily have consequences. Hopefully, all actions associated with the Deepwater Horizon incident were in good faith and compliant with our laws. If that is not the case, there will be no excuse."

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, of which Murkowski is the ranking member, heard testimony Tuesday from executives of BP, Transocean and Halliburton.

"This accident has reminded us of a cold reality... that the production of energy will never be without risk or environmental consequence," Murkowski said. "Last November, this committee heard testimony that left us with a simple conclusion: offshore development does carry risks to both human and marine life, as well as the livelihoods of our coastal citizens, so government and industry must never grow complacent and always strive to minimize those risks."

But Murkowski also made clear her commitment to the responsible development of the nation's offshore energy resources, saying that to halt all drilling would harm both the economic and military security of the country.

"The reasons why are also simple - we all agree that we need to steadily minimize the percentage of oil in our overall energy mix, but under anyone's most optimistic scenario, our nation will need a lot of oil for a long time to come," Murkowski continued. "For the sake of our nation's economy, for the sake of our national security, and this incident notwithstanding, for the sake of the world's environment, we need to safely produce the maximum amount of that energy at home."

"We cannot look at this sad chapter and conclude that we should increase the billions of dollars we are sending to foreign governments who run greater risks and use our own money against our interests," Murkowski said. "The American people are not ready to turn their backs on offshore production - and neither should we. Again, our nation already has some of the strongest environmental standards in the world. Those protections will only grow stronger in the wake of this tragedy."

Murkowski's full opening statement is attached.

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