Republicans Point Finger at White House Over Oil Spill

Posted May 5, 2010 at 10:47am

House Republican leaders called Wednesday for an investigation into the administration’s response to the oil spill in the Gulf Coast — and hinted that the companies operating the oil rig may not be completely responsible for the explosion.

Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) said he needed answers to a number of questions about what occurred on the Deepwater Horizon rig before he could make a judgment about who was at fault and who should pay for the cleanup.

During a closed-door meeting with Members on Tuesday, oil company officials admitted that the amount of oil leaking into the Gulf of Mexico could climb as high as 60,000 barrels a day in the worst-case scenario.

“I think what Republicans want is we want to get to the bottom of what happened, what the federal response was or wasn’t, find out who really is responsible for this and make sure the law is followed,” Boehner said.

Boehner added that he wanted to see the results of an inspection of the rig that occurred weeks before the explosion.

Republican Conference Chairman Mike Pence (Ind.) called the federal response “slow” and said, after the failed federal response to Hurricane Katrina, “the people of the Gulf Coast deserve better.”

“This accident happened on April 20th, the president did not fully deploy federal resources until April the 28th, the middle of last week,” Pence said. “In fact, British Petroleum was in charge of the response for the 12 days.”

Pence said the oil spill also highlighted the need for the Republican “all of the above” energy plan and accused environmentalists of using the tragedy to restrict drilling off the coasts of the United States.

“We cannot allow the environmental left in this country to exploit this ongoing tragedy to deny the America people more access to our own domestic reserves,” Pence said.