Matt Dempsey (202) 224-9797

Katie Brown (202) 224-2160              

Opening Statement of Senator James M. Inhofe

Ranking Member, Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works

Subcommittee on Water and Wildlife hearing entitled, "Status of the Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Damage Assessment."

Tuesday, June 28, 2011 10:00 am

Thank you, Senator Cardin, for conducting today's subcommittee hearing to discuss the difficult and extensive process of determining natural resource damages stemming from BP's Deepwater Horizon disaster. As the Committee of Jurisdiction, one of our fundamental roles is to provide oversight of the Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) process. I look forward to getting an update on the assessment and a thoughtful discussion on some of those issues today.

Today our committee welcomes two panels of witnesses, federal and non-federal, that have diverse and unique experiences to share. I'm particularly happy to have witnesses from the Gulf Coast such as Cooper Shattuck, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the NRDA Trustee Council, and Garrett Graves, Chair of the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, State of Louisiana.

As many of you may know, my initial reaction to the Administration's response was critical, as noted in my report entitled, "Failure of Leadership: President Obama and the Flawed Federal Response to the BP Disaster". Perhaps time will tell us that the greatest threat to the Gulf came from the Obama Administration's regulatory overreach on offshore drilling.

While we still do not know the full extent of the effects from BP's Deepwater Horizon spill, we owe it to the Gulf region and the American people to carefully examine the effectiveness of the federal response. I hope that this hearing today will be a positive step in that direction.