Melancon says his 'heart broke' after hearing BP effort failed

Rep. Charlie Melancon (D-La.) says his "heart broke" after learning that BP's "top kill" effort to plug the Gulf oil leak failed.

Melancon, who broke down in tears during a congressional hearing on the oil spill last week, said Louisianans are frustrated and angry at the string of disasters they've faced and the uncertainty over the extent of damage from the spill.

"These are very resilient people that are tough," Melancon said on CNN Saturday. "And as I've told people, I guess if the Lord picked a place on Earth to show us how to be strong, he's got the right people. But it gets quite trying after Katrina, Rita, Gustav, Ike, and now Deepwater Horizon."


Melancon cautioned against a moratorium on offshore drilling, noting that Louisiana's coastal area is a major driver of the country's economy and provides between $5 billion and $6 billion of revenue for the federal Treasury annually.

"We realized we need to police these folks [who caused the spill]. We realized we need to make sure that this deep water drilling is as safe for the people and the environment as it can be," Melancon said. "But if we put a moratorium on it our economy will then take a dive, and we have been in one of the bright spots in the economy in this country over the last two years."

Melancon said his biggest fear right now is that oil ruins the Gulf and estuaries and wetlands around it.

"If it continues to flow and gets into the loop currents, God knows who's going to be affected," he said.