DC Hearings Focus On BP Oil Spill

New Orleans, La. – The co-chairmen of the National Oil Spill Commission are standing by the panel's findings and recommendations to prevent another disaster. Lawmakers took turns commending - and some slamming - the commission's final report. Some say it's premature because it doesn't include findings still being determined on why the blowout preventer failed. Co-chairman William Reilly says the review found systemic failures led to the rig explosion and spill, not one piece of equipment.

"I think that you can draw an analogy between the blowout preventer and a seat belt in a
car accident. It's obviously important to the survival of someone that the seat belt wasn't fastened, but it doesn't really explain why the accident occurred. We explain why the accident occurred."

Others complain the report reinforces the Obama administration's reluctance to resume deepwater drilling, indicated by the lack permits being issued.
Co-chairman former Senator Bob Graham says the industry can't get permits because it still can't show how it would handle another deep-sea well blowout.
A Senate subcommittee chaired by Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu will be reviewing the claims process and overall Gulf Coast recovery. Among the witnesses for Thursday's hearing are claims administrator Kenneth Feinberg, a BP executive, representatives of Catholic Charities of New Orleans and the Vietnamese fishing community.
For WWNO, I'm Eileen Fleming.