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Holding BP Accountable: Oil Spill Commission Subpoena Power

The New Direction Congress is working to ensure that BP and other responsible parties--and not taxpayers--are held accountable to pay for the disaster cleanup and costs related to this spill.  We are also launching a clean energy future to make America more secure, create millions of clean energy jobs here at home and address the climate crisis.

On June 23rd, the House passed legislation (H.R. 5481) to give subpoena power to the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling. 

The Commission, co-chaired by former Senator Bob Graham of Florida and former EPA Administrator Bill Reilly, was established on May 22 and is tasked with providing recommendations on how we can prevent future spills that result from offshore drilling and mitigate any impact.

Giving the bipartisan Commission this critical tool is key to ensuring that it can conduct a complete analysis of the systemic industry and regulatory failures that led to this tragedy and avert future disasters.  Subpoena power will ensure the Commission cannot be stonewalled by BP or any other entity in its search for answers and can get testimony from crucial participants, like those who spotted a dangerous leak signaling a problem with the blowout preventer prior to the explosion.

Congress has previously granted subpoena power to commissions investigating national crises, including the Warren Commission following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and the Three Mile Island Commission following the 1979 incident at the Pennsylvania nuclear power plant.

Already, Congress: