Oil execs shun congressional panel

Nov. 1, 2011 at 3:30 PM
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WASHINGTON, Nov. 1 (UPI) -- Oil industry executives linked to the deadly Gulf of Mexico spill came under fire from a U.S. House Democrat Tuesday for declining to testify on Capitol Hill.

"It is unacceptable for the heads of these companies to evade testifying before Congress in order to avoid answering questions about the U.S. government's major report on the oil spill for which their companies share responsibility," Rep. Edward Markey of Massachusetts, the ranking Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee, said in a statement Tuesday.

The committee wanted officials from BP, Transocean Ltd. and Halliburton -- companies involved in the 2010 oil spill that claimed 11 workers' lives and led to the world's worst off-shore spill -- to appear before it Wednesday, the Washington publication The Hill reported.

The panel will be holding a second hearing on a joint Interior Department-U.S. Coast Guard report on the spill.

"Democrats on the Natural Resources Committee intend to hold these companies accountable, and plan to take action to compel these witnesses to appear before the committee," he said.

The Hill said a spokesman for the congressman wouldn't divulge what action the Democrats intended to take to get the company executives to appear.

"BP remains committed to continue to cooperate with the committee, but, given that BP already has provided a witness who testified before the committee on Oct. 13, and in light of the constraints imposed by numerous pending legal proceedings, BP respectfully must decline the invitation to have Mr. Dudley testify on Nov. 2," BP America Executive Director David Nagel said in a letter to the committee Monday.

The other executives also declined the invitation in separate letters.

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