Dec 8, 2010: Markey, Capps Push Varco for Information on BP Spill

National Oilwell Varco Withholding Key Information from Spill Commission; Senate Republicans Still Blocking Subpoena Power for Panel

WASHINGTON (December 8, 2010) – Two members of Congress today demanded that a company involved in the BP oil spill hand over key information to the independent commission studying the disaster. The company, National Oilwell Varco, has refused to turn over access to software and other information that would allow investigators on the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling to recreate the computer displays engineers saw in the moments leading up to the explosion.

The letter was sent by Representatives Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Lois Capps (D-Calif.) and is available HERE . The letter echoes the requests from the commission for this information by the commission, which have been ignored thus far by NOV.

This refusal to provide information highlights the ongoing need to provide the independent commission with subpoena power. The House has passed legislation granting such authority, sponsored by Reps. Markey and Capps, but Republicans in the Senate have blocked the legislation from moving forward. While the commission does not currently have subpoena power, the letter made it clear that Congress does, stating: “It will be up to those who do have subpoena authority, including the Congress, to make sure the true facts of the BP spill are placed into the public domain. We remain steadfast in our determination to ensure that happens.”

Rep. Markey said: "The refusal of National Oilwell Varco to cooperate with the spill commission underscores why the panel needed to have subpoena authority, as the House has already voted to grant them. The true roadblock here is the bloc of Republican Senators that has denied the commission subpoena power."

Rep. Capps said, “It’s clear that National Oilwell Varco shares the same goal as Senate Republicans, protecting BP from full scrutiny of the independent commission. The House voted nearly unanimously to grant subpoena power to the commission investigating the BP oil spill, but Senate Republicans repeatedly blocked the legislation. The BP disaster took the lives of 11 workers and ruined the livelihoods of families throughout the Gulf Coast, and the Senate Republicans should be ashamed of themselves for helping the companies responsible escape a full accounting for their actions. Congress has granted subpoena power to independent commissions, including the Warren Commission and Three Mile Island Commission. The American people deserve a full accounting of this tragedy.”

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