Bingaman announces plans to develop offshore oil safety bill

Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) on Tuesday opened the first Capitol Hill hearing into the Gulf of Mexico oil spill with a pledge to work across the aisle on new legislation to prevent future disasters.

Bingaman noted that the April 20 oil rig explosion and ongoing spill present a suite of technological and regulatory questions, and that lawmakers must “determine quickly and to the best of our ability the appropriate next steps.”

“As those steps become clear, through the testimony we receive and the investigative work of our Committee staff, I intend to work with the Ranking Member and the Members of this Committee on a bipartisan basis to develop, introduce and advance the necessary and appropriate legislation through the Senate,” he said.

The committee is hearing today from executives from BP America Inc., Transocean Ltd.  and Halliburton. BP had leased the Deepwater Horizon rig from owner-operator Transocean, and Halliburton was a contractor on the drilling project.