May 22nd, 2010
11:10 AM ET
12 years ago

Louisiana Republican sounds off on oil spill, energy policy

Washington (CNN) - In this week's GOP Internet and radio address, Louisiana Republican Sen. David Vitter discusses the needs of coastal communities dealing with the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Vitter also touches on new legislation intended to deal with similar events in the future and on energy policy.

(Read Vitter's full remarks after the jump)

Republican Weekly Address
Delivered by Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana
May 22, 2010

“Hi I’m Senator David Vitter of Louisiana.

“What a month it’s been since the initial explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil platform just off Louisiana’s coast.

“While the Gulf oil spill most directly impacts Louisiana and our immediate neighbors, people all across the country certainly share in our feelings of anxiety as the ongoing gushing of the well continues.

“They’ve also shared by joining together to provide relief for those most affected by this tragedy. And, I know I speak for all Louisianians when I express how grateful we are for that outpouring of support.

“As we continue to work toward a recovery solution, none of us should lose sight that there are families who’ve lost loved ones. That is the greatest tragedy – something everyone in Washington should try a little harder to remember.

“I’ve also been all along Louisiana’s coast over the last few weeks meeting with those economically devastated – oystermen and fishermen, mayors and local officials and others hit hard by the impacts of the spill. They have clearly expressed that they don’t want a handout – they want a job and a paycheck. And through the Vessels of Opportunity program, many of these folks have been hired to man the coastline and marsh protection efforts underway.

“But clearly more needs to be done.

“From the annual blessing of the boats in Chalmette – a somber event this year – to the public meetings with the Vietnamese community in New Orleans that continues to struggle in working with BP on claims issues, I’ve listened, learned, and left with a much deeper perspective on how people’s lives all along the coast have been disrupted.

“That’s why it’s so frustrating to many Louisianans that while the crisis actually continues in the Gulf – while we’re still fighting to contain the well – Washington Democratic Committee Chairmen have rushed to create media events for television cameras instead of devoting full attention to stopping the immediate problem.
“I guess it’s typical of the culture in Washington for politicians to believe that they can solve an ongoing crisis with statements and testimonies in Congressional committee rooms. But the time for committee hearings is for after the well has been capped – not before.

“Folks closer to the scene understand that. We want 100 percent of the attention of all parties focused on our two most immediate problems: stopping the gushing oil, and protecting our coastlines and marshes from the oil.

“In addition to capping the well, coastal communities are in desperate need of more floating containment barriers, known as ‘boom.’ And I’ve talked numerous times to Admiral Thad Allen about this need.

“But this boom is really just a band aid to the larger wound of the spill. A greater, more substantial solution would be for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to work immediately with our state to build up and extend our barrier islands made from materials dredged from the immediate area – our rivers and deltas. With BP, by the way, appropriately paying the bill.

“To prevent this type of incident from ever happening again, I’ve also worked with other Gulf Coast Senators to introduce legislation that addresses two specific areas: the liability cap for the responsible party of a spill, and greater technological preparedness to address any future incidents much more rapidly and effectively.

“Our Oil Spill Response and Assistance Act would establish a new liability cap equal to the last four quarters of the responsible party’s profits or double the current limit, whichever is greater.

“The bill would establish much greater reserve requirements for the amount of boom –capable of withstanding up to six-foot waves – and would direct work on technology to effectively cap leaks like the one currently gushing in the Gulf.

“That would make offshore drilling safer, smarter and more reliable, but not extinct.

“Some in Washington have tried to seize on this real human tragedy in the Gulf to advocate for a radical new energy agenda.

“That only cheapens the loss of those who’ve lost loved ones and brushes aside the ongoing, unsolved problem to spring forward with an emotionally-charged political agenda.

“That’s wrong and, frankly, an example of bankrupt leadership.

“Both Republicans and Democrats say they want to decrease our foreign dependence on oil, but ending all domestic energy production offshore would only make us that much more dependent.

“And this false choice on how to proceed in the future of energy exploration in the wake of a terrible accident contributes little to the debate.

“We all acknowledge that alternative fuels are the future, but the sad reality is that they are still very much in the future from a practical-use standpoint.

“That’s why domestic energy production is critical to free ourselves from foreign energy sources and should provide a bridge toward that more renewable, cleaner future.

“I believe Americans understand that, even in the midst of this tragedy. And I know Louisianans do. Thank you.”

Filed under: David Vitter • GOP • Louisiana
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Odalice Feliz

    I feel so sorry for all the fishes in the sea!

    I'm devistaded to hear such horrible news!!!

    May 22, 2010 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  2. ronalde

    now you care,you voted against putting safety values on the rig now you want to grandstand about the spill.

    May 22, 2010 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  3. Jack

    Republicans are always against regulations–until there's a disaster. They are always more concerned that regulations will hamper business than prevent tragedies. Well, your man Rand Paul put it best–accidents happen–so BP isn't to be blamed. Of course, that's like saying we shouldn't have regulations requiring seat belts in cars because accidents happen.

    This wringing of hands and grandstanding is a little too late.

    May 22, 2010 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  4. Dave

    Sen. David Vitter
    Voted NO on removing oil & gas exploration subsidies. (Jun 2007)
    Voted NO on making oil-producing and exporting cartels illegal. (Jun 2007)
    # Voted NO on disallowing an oil leasing program in Alaska's ANWR. (Nov 2005)
    Voted NO on including oil & gas smokestacks in mercury regulations. (Sep 2005)
    # Rated 0% by the CAF, indicating opposition to energy independence. (Dec 2006)
    # Open the Outer Continental Shelf for oil & gas leasing. (Jun 2008)

    May 22, 2010 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  5. GI Joe

    spill baby spill, vitter. YOU voted against safety.

    Burn in he**

    May 22, 2010 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  6. tony


    Congress is the legislative branch. Congress has no executive power and it cannot do anything directly to contain the damages from the spill. What Congress can do is to pass legislation that put regulations in place so that the same thing will not happen in the future. Before Congress does that, it should investigate the cause of the spill so that it can come up with legislation that will address the problems. This is not the time to talk about liability cap. If oil companies can guarantee a damage cap from a spill, then you can talk about a liability cap.

    The Obama Administration is not committed to a radical energy agenda. Before the spill happened, it was committed to open more offshore areas for oil drilling. It is committed to build more nuclear power plants. It wants to utilize America's vast reserves of coals. Like Republicans, the Obama Administration recognizes that before an alternative source of energy is ready we cannot abandon the traditional source of energy. What the Obama Administration also recognizes is that oil is going to run out eventually. It is not radical to plan for tomorrow.

    May 22, 2010 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  7. Robert Crowley

    Total Hyprocite, needs to go asap.

    May 22, 2010 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  8. burt

    What a piece of work... it's still the same... Drill, baby, drill. Where's the party leader, the gorilla from Wasilla? Why is she not giving the weekly address on this issue. Isn't she's supposed to be the expert? Vitter knows hookers and his own oil well explosions, not much about other issues.

    May 22, 2010 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  9. Save America, impeach the treasonous republicans

    Wingnuts say, "We want no government interference in our lives, well maybe a little. OK, you got us, but in our defense, we are usually wrong on everything."

    Vitter should write a book about how his family values does not conflict with his extramarital sexual adventures.

    May 22, 2010 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  10. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Is this the same Vitter who keeps the prostitutes employed and now he's talking about the loss of income to fisherman in the Gulf like he really cares about them. What a piece of junk.

    May 22, 2010 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  11. Save America, impeach the treasonous republicans

    Oil is not the only thing that Vitter uses the slogan, "Drill, baby, drill."

    May 22, 2010 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  12. Gusher McGee

    IF BP needs to cap the spill....and BP has not done so, and BP has not helped clean any shoreline yet...and BP is already negotiating themselves out of total responsibility for the is Obama being 'too hard' on BP as the extremist Rand Paul says?

    If companies don't assume liability for their actions, and constantly pass the cost for their mistakes onto US COMSUMERS, how is THAT 'free market competition'??

    There are oil wells around the world, and these problems have happened all over, it is facscinating that Senator David Vitter, after a few conversations, has announced himself an expert in oil well technology and has concluded that this must be the Democrats fault for demanding greater oversight of oil wells in the future instead of only thinking about LA.

    Mr. Vitter, what part of your diatribe is NOT political grandstanding for your own political future???

    May 22, 2010 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |