Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R) is slated to testify on Thursday at a House committee hearing examining the issues affecting residents of last year’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill, which left 11 dead and leaked 200 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.
Barbour, who announced in April that he will not run for president in 2012, will testify at a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on “Making the Gulf Coast Whole Again: Assessing the Efforts of BP and the Obama Administration After the Oil Spill.”
The hearing comes as Republicans in both chambers have been pressing the Obama administration to increase domestic energy production one year out from the spill.
According to a committee memo, the hearing “will explore how BP and the Obama Administration conducted the response to the oil spill, and their ongoing performance since the well was capped.”
In addition to Barbour, the other witnesses scheduled to testify include Frank Rusco, the Director of Energy and Sciences at the Government Accountability Office; Bill Williams, the commissioner of Gulf County, FL; Cory Kief, the president of a Louisiana-based marine towing company; and Craig Taffaro, the president of St. Bernard’s Parish in Louisiana, located southeast of New Orleans.
The panel, which is chaired by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), held a hearing last July examining the impact of the spill.
Barbour visited Capitol Hill in April to address the Congressional Health Care Caucus, a group of House Republicans interested in health care and related issues.
Some Republicans have argued that the administration has been too slow to decide on new oil and gas drilling applications after the Deepwater Horizon explosion, and the House last month passed the “Putting the Gulf of Mexico Back to Work Act,” a measure Republicans contend would help speed up the permitting process and help alleviate rising oil prices. A similar measure was rejected by the Senate.
Republicans have also criticized the work of the $20 billion Gulf Coast Claims Facility, arguing that the claims process has not been implemented quickly enough for struggling Gulf Coast residents.
The White House has pushed back against criticism, arguing that it is proceeding with the permitting process in a timely manner that also ensures that new permits meet certain safety standards.
Thursday’s hearing will take place at 9:30 a.m. in room 2154 of the Rayburn House Office Building.