Act of Congress Needed; Legislation to be Introduced Tomorrow

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, Rep. Lois Capps (D-Calif) and Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass) announced they will introduce legislation tomorrow to grant subpoena power to the bipartisan Commission established by President Obama last month to investigate the causes and effects of BP’s oil spill in the Gulf and evaluate long term prospects for offshore oil and gas drilling.  The U.S. Constitution does not implicitly or explicitly grant the President any general subpoena power authority, necessitating Congressional action.

 “The work of the independent commission on the BP oil spill will help re-shape the future of offshore drilling in the United States. Granting this commission subpoena power will ensure that it possesses all of the authority it needs to fully examine the greatest environmental catastrophe in U.S. history and make recommendations to prevent similar disasters from happening again,” said Markey.

Giving the bipartisan Commission this important tool is absolutely essential to ensuring 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 guarantee the public that this will be a completely thorough and transparent investigation. I am glad to be able to supplement current efforts to investigate the spill by introducing this legislation,” said Capps.

The Commission—co-chaired by former Senator Bob Graham of Florida and former EPA Administrator Bill Reilly—is modeled on legislation Capps and Markey introduced (H.R. 5241) to ensure a thorough examination of BP’s spill.