By Jack Nicas
WATERTOWN -- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Massachusetts Representative Edward Markey blasted BP today for its inability to stop the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
'We have been told that the technology is such that we could go all the way down, miles into the sea … and that this was safe,' Pelosi said. 'Nobody said, 'But if it doesn't work, we don't have the faintest idea what to do.''
'BP is just making this up as they go along; they have no plan,' Markey said of the company's efforts to plug the leaking well or capture the oil it is spewing into the ocean, nearly a mile below the surface.
Pelosi and Markey had just taken a tour of A123 Systems, a lithium-ion battery company that received millions in recovery money. The two said clean energy like that produced by the company could reduce the country's reliance on petroleum -- and the need for risky offshore drilling.
The news conference was supposed to address the benefits of stimulus funding but reporters' questions quickly turned to the spill.
Both Pelosi and Markey also touted the idea of lifting the liability cap on BP, which currently limits BP's financial responsibility for the spill to $75 million. Markey, chairman of the House Select Committee for Energy Independence and Global Warming, said the legislation would be passed by the end of this year.
'BP reported $6 billion in profit in the first quarter of 2010. They have the money to ensure that the people of Louisiana, the Gulf Coast, and our country don't have to foot the bill,' Markey said.
BP's chief executive has said the company would take full responsibility for the spill. BP managing director Robert Dudley said Sunday on NBC-TV's 'Meet the Press' that the company had already spent nearly $1 billion on cleanup efforts.