Stupak sits on the House Energy and Commerce Committee and is the chair of the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. Stupak's subcommittee issued a report Tuesday that detailed a number of warning signs missed by rig operators prior to its explosion on the night of April 20.
"Two hours out [from the explosion], the fundamental flaw was made," the Michigan Democrat said on CNN's John King, USA. At that point, when gas and fluid began to spurt out of the well in an indication that pressure was building, "you should have started shutting things down," said Stupak. "They didn't. They moved forward."
Asked about apparent similarities between the lack of federal regulatory oversight in this case and in recent mining tragedies, Stupak told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King that federal agencies do not have the resources they need to engage in adequate regulation.
"These regulatory agencies – and I'm not being partisan here, but - in the last administration were devastated. People were laid off. People were let go. They were down to skeleton crews. They cut corners. The didn't have experts who knew – whether it was NHTSA or the Minerals Management Service."
When King pointed out that the Obama administration has had the reins of the executive branch for the last 15 months, Stupak responded that it takes some time "to ramp up."
The congressman also told King that he did not trust embattled energy giant BP. “BP wasn’t telling us the truth,” said Stupak. The Democrat estimated that, across the oil and gas industry, there were 30-50 blowout preventers in Gulf oil rigs that might be faulty like the one on the Deepwater Horizon's well apparently was.
And the Democrat said that in order to prevent a similar disaster, two things are necessary: more regulation of drilling in environmentally sensitive areas and better regulation by federal watchdogs charged with keeping an eye on the oil and gas industry.
Stupak added, "This did not have to happen. This was just pure negligence."
Updated: 9:44 p.m.