May 11th, 2010
04:49 PM ET
13 years ago

Experts: Answers on oil spill in the Gulf, not Congress

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption=" Lamar McKay, president and chairman of BP America Inc., attends a Senate committee's hearing on Tuesday."]Washington (CNN) - As a Senate committee was grilling oil industry executives about the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, experts said there is an opportunity to learn from the catastrophe, but the lessons won't come from Congress.

On Tuesday at a hearing before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, three companies took turns blaming each other for the April accident that left 11 workers dead and oil still spewing into the Gulf.

Edward Overton, a professor emeritus of environmental sciences at Louisiana State University, said the blame game is an attempt by the companies to deny liability. The real lessons - and answers - can be learned in the Gulf, he said.

"We've got a problem right now and we've got to solve it and that's to try to mitigate what's going on now [in the Gulf] and studying the effects over time there," he said.

Ken Medlock, an energy fellow at Rice University, said understanding what caused the spill is "impossible at this point" because more needs to be learned at the scene.

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Filed under: Energy • Senate
soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. Lets expose Rush Limbaughs staff.

    Everyone went to dinner but nobody wants the tab.Did anyone ever think about a spill and have a plan for it?Doesnt look like it.

    May 11, 2010 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  2. phoenix86

    Those who say that this is proof that we should not drill offshore, should also support making driving illegal. Deaths occur everyday on the highways.

    The fringe left will be out in force on this one, with Obama joining in with his fringe base.

    May 11, 2010 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  3. teena

    So let the blame game begin–no one wants to take any responsibility for the spill, but of course BP wanted the OIL!

    Frankly, I do not understand why all of the failures of equipment and the ensuing spill had not been anticipated with an in depth plan to prevent a catastrophe having been developed prior to drilling!
    Haven't these oil big-wigs ever heard of Murphy?

    May 11, 2010 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  4. ThinkAgain

    Who were the 11 who are presumed dead? Why haven't their names been released? What are the companies involved trying to hide?

    May 11, 2010 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  5. ThinkAgain

    Has Pat Robertson yet made mention about how this oil spill is punishment from God for our unbridled greed that puts money before the safety and welfare of people?

    May 11, 2010 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  6. They call me "tater salad"

    And once again Dick Cheney's former company played a role in all of this.........How nice!............Thanks a bunch Haliburton........I'm sure all of the political influence your money has bought you over the years will pay off once again and as usual nothing will happen........."Meet the new boss, same as the old boss".................YAWN!!

    May 11, 2010 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  7. Larry

    I want to know why the crew on the exploding oil rig, were already trying to cap the 5000 foot well when it exploded

    Why no one is talking about the escaping gas from the cement filling, causing the explosion and malfunction of the emergency valves

    What was already happening on the rig, prior to the explosion

    Why were they trying to cap a perfectly "good" well in the first place

    What else DON'T we Americans know ????

    May 11, 2010 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  8. Cynthia

    These guys only want part of it when they MAKE MONEY. Now they are all running around pointing fingers at each other. This is probably the worse disaster of our lifetime. They need to pay and pay big.

    May 11, 2010 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  9. Jon

    Gives new meaning to the Gulf War

    May 11, 2010 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  10. CBR

    Haliburton is in the middle of this mess. Let me see, Haliburton had its share of problems in the "War" with Iraq. Just as they made no mistakes in that war, they are taking no responsibility for any of the problems with the Gulf oil spill. Wat we need to do is charge them all fr the mess they have made. They are not going to admit any wrongdoing because to do so opens up another pandora's box – lawsuit.

    What a mess which gets worse everyday. The people and wildlife living in the area are the victims and the three companies should find ways to hel them out.

    May 11, 2010 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  11. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    Who's kidding who here??? – These guys are going to "Exxon-Valdez" this clean-up, too!!!

    And to the big thinker, phoenix86, who criticizes people who question the safety and validity of drilling in the Gulf – why don't they re-open the wells they capped in order to drive the crude prices up a few years ago? Huh, big guy, what's your answer to that?

    Beck hasn't covered that yet, and until he does, you won't have an answer.

    May 11, 2010 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  12. Smith in Oregon

    After inspecting Gas and Oil well rig explosions that have occurred in the past over history, nearly ALL OF THEM occurred when improper cement application and improper cement injection was employed which was fingered as the cause of igniting the methane gas and causing those rigs to explode and burn.

    DURING the time the deep sea rig recently exploded and burned in the Gulf of Mexico, HALIBURTON was cementing and injecting cement into the deep sea exploratory drill head site.

    Laypersons are largely familiar with concrete and cement, however when either is going to be poured into water to cure and solidify, a chemical additive is used which greatly heats up that cement underwater which solidifies it very quickly depending on the amount's of chemical additive.

    Too much chemical additive directly leads to way to much chemical heat produced and a much shorter time period that cement could be worked with before it set's up.

    Haliburton and Dick Cheney, two names which seem to keep coming back like a rocky horror movie script.

    May 11, 2010 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  13. What?

    Comparing this oil spill to driving a car is absurd. Do car accidents hurt 1,000,000+ people who depend on clean beaches for the tourism industry or stop fishing altogether due to contaminated waters?

    It's not just about the deaths... but also the HUGE impact on the economy and ecology.

    Talk about someone making a weak, fringe argument.

    May 11, 2010 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  14. Joshua College Station, TX

    Hold them all responsible.

    May 11, 2010 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  15. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    This is such a total waste of time when these CEO's should take off their $1000 suits/shoes and get out there to help cleanup this mess that they alone are responsible.

    May 11, 2010 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  16. Frank in valparaiso indiana

    Well we should not drill offshore in 5000 feet of water until we can figure out how to deal with methane bubbles. Things expand when they have higher temps and less pressure. Working with something that is explosive means there needs to be some more work on the theory before we have more oil wells drilled. And Bush was pretty much responsible for letting them drill with lessened regulations.

    You don't know what you're doing, you should be more cautious rather than less. Would have been cheaper in the long run.

    Oil drilling is not safe nor is it clean. That's why they pay so well.

    May 11, 2010 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  17. Pragmatic

    Good point about dinner & paying the bill: The Titanic sank but we still travel by ship – the Hindenburg blew up and we learned from that disaster.

    Now we need to learn that oil companies should not police themselves, that Halliburton is probably not the answer to any question, that big business needs a Plan B!

    Not hearing a lot from the "smaller government" souls this week ... what with the finance reform bill, terrorism in NYC and the oil spill.

    May 11, 2010 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  18. g ontario

    the drilling in the gulf is 3 percent of what america burns and does little for the price at the pump most of the oil goes on the world market to keep the price up not worth the mess, it,s just a oil company,s cash cow

    May 11, 2010 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  19. GuyinVA

    Did this professor just say that we have nothing to learn from CONGRESS?!? WHAT?!?!? I'm shocked and appalled.

    May 11, 2010 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |