As a result of last week’s major oil rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico, 42,000 gallons of crude oil are being spilled into the water each day, forming a 600 square mile oil slick. U.S. Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Bill Nelson (D-FL), who represent states that could be affected by spills at current or future oil drilling sites, formally requested a joint hearing to examine this particular disaster and whether similar incidents can be prevented in the future. They wrote the Chairs and Ranking Members of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee and the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee to request the hearing.
“Last Tuesday’s explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico is a tragedy for the families and friends of the missing and injured workers, and also a sobering reminder of the real risk from oil drilling,” wrote the senators. “The explosion, ensuing fire, and continuing spill raise serious concerns about the industry’s claims that their operations and technology are safe enough to put rigs in areas that are environmentally sensitive or are critical to tourism or fishing industries. This may be the worst disaster in recent years, but it’s certainly not an isolated incident.”