Sen. Murkowski Seeks Answers Regarding the Explosion on the Deepwater Horizon

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today said it's imperative that tough questions are asked about what caused the tragic explosion on the offshore oil rig Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico to ensure the integrity of the nation's offshore energy policy.

"As we look to expand exploration off our nation's coasts, it's critical that we take every possible precaution to guard against similar accidents," Murkowski said. "It's imperative that we find out everything we can about what went wrong on the Horizon."

Sen. Murkowski is the ranking member on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, which has jurisdiction over offshore energy development. The committee will hold a hearing May 6 to review current issues related to offshore oil and natural gas development, including the Department of the Interior's recent five-year planning announcements and the accident in the Gulf of Mexico. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar will testify.

"This is a tragedy on many levels. My thoughts and prayers remain with the families of the 11 lost workers," Murkowski said. "I fully understand that it could take months before we have all of the answers about what happened, but it's important that we start asking the hard questions now."

"Deepwater exploration, which continues to expand the reach of drilling technology in the Gulf of Mexico, has become critical to our nation's energy supply. Because we depend on these domestic resources, it's our responsibility to ensure that they are produced as safely as possible," Murkowski said.

The Department of the Interior's Minerals Management Service and the U.S. Coast Guard are coordinating an aggressive response to the April 20 explosion and the subsequent oil spill off the coast of Louisiana.

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on offshore oil and natural gas development in Dirksen room 366 at 9:30 a.m. on May 6.

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