Five Years After Deepwater Horizon: Improvements and Challenges in Prevention and Response

April 29, 2015

253 Senate Russell Office Building

The Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation will convene on April 29, 2015, at 9:30 a.m. for a hearing entitled, “Five Years After Deepwater Horizon: Improvements and Challenges in Prevention and Response.”

On April 20, 2010, an explosion occurred on the mobile offshore drilling unit Deepwater Horizon.  Eleven men perished in the explosion.  Two days later, the Deepwater Horizon collapsed and sank in approximately 5,000 feet of water, located 42 miles from shore. On April 29, 2010, the resulting oil spill was officially designated a “Spill of National Significance” – a distinction established in the Oil Pollution Act of 1990. Not until September 19, 2010, was the well permanently sealed by the injection of cement.

In the five years since the oil spill, the largest ever in U.S. waters, there have been numerous studies on the causes of the spill and how to prevent future disasters.  This hearing, coming after a request from the committee’s ranking member, Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), will hear testimony from expert witnesses on the improvements in prevention and response that have occurred following the oil spill, as well as ongoing challenges and opportunities.  This hearing will review the lessons learned in the wake of the spill and the steps taken to make offshore oil and gas exploration safer.  It will also explore advances in response technology.

The Commerce Committee has jurisdiction over the U.S. Coast Guard and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which were both involved in the response and remediation efforts.

Witnesses:
 
- Mr. Charlie Williams, Executive Director, Center for Offshore Safety, Houston, Texas
- Dr. Nancy Kinner, Director, The Coastal Response Center and The Center for Spills in the Environment at the University of New Hampshire, Durham, New Hampshire
- Dr. Christopher Reddy, Senior Scientist Department of Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Massachusetts
- Dr. Samantha Joye, Professor of Marine Science, University of Georgia- Marine Science Department, Athens, Georgia

Hearing Details:
 
Wednesday, April 29, 2015
9:30 a.m.
 
Full Committee hearing entitled, “Five Years After Deepwater Horizon: Improvements and Challenges in Prevention and Response”
 
This hearing will take place in Senate Russell Office Building, Room 253. Witness testimony, opening statements, and a live video of the hearing will be available at this page.

For reporters interested in reserving a seat, please contact the press gallery:

• Periodical Press Gallery – 202-224-0265

• Radio/Television Gallery – 202-224-6421

• Press Photographers Gallery – 202-224-6548

• Daily Press Gallery – 202-224-0241

Individuals with disabilities who require an auxiliary aid or service, including closed captioning service for the webcast hearing, should contact Stephanie Gamache at 202-224-5511 at least three business days in advance of the hearing date.

Webcast

Minority Statement

  • Ranking Member Bill Nelson

Witness Panel 1

  • Mr. Charlie Williams

    Executive Director
    Center for Offshore Safety, Houston, Texas
    Williams Testimony (143.92 KB)
  • Dr. Nancy Kinner

    Director
    The Coastal Response Center and The Center for Spills in the Environment at the University of New Hampshire, Durham, New Hampshire
    Kinner Testimony (103.80 KB)
  • Dr. Christopher Reddy

    Senior Scientist
    Department of Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Massachusetts
    Reddy Testimony (153.11 KB)
  • Dr. Samantha Joye

    Professor of Marine Science
    University of Georgia-Marine Science Department, Athens, Georgia
    Joye Testimony (882.76 KB)