BP declines invitation to three day oil spill hearings with top U.S. Officials. Mississippi state House Speaker Billy McCoy and Lt. Governor Phil Bryant created the Mississippi House of Representatives Select Committee on the Gulf Coast Disaster in May 2010. The mission of the Committee was to investigate the massive oil spill wreaking havoc on the Gulf Coast and surrounding wildlife and essentially determine who is responsible for the spill and how to go forward with stopping it.
Mississippi officials invited the owners, lessors, and officials from top companies, including BP, Transocean, and Halliburton to attend the hearings scheduled for the second week of June 2010. McCoy stated the "people of Mississippi deserve to know how this happened and what the future may hold for this most valuable part of our state."
In a formal letter dated Wednesday, June 10, 2010, BP declined the invitation. The letter was addressed from Margaret D. Laney, BP's Coordinator for Public and Government Affairs from Mississippi. The letter states: "I regret that we are unable to accommodate your invitation to participate Wednesday or Thursday in the hearing of the Mississippi House of Representatives Select Committee on the Gulf Coast Disaster. We at BP take very seriously the desire of the Select Committee to gather information on the circumstances on the Mississippi coast relative to the oil spill. We are committed to meeting regularly with stakeholders along the Gulf Coast and to providing briefings for government officials on a regular basis, and we will continue to remain engaged in this way. When we meet with the Committee, it will be important for us to have appropriate BP representatives who are implementing the strategic response plan for Mississippi and working in the Mississippi Gulf Coast area. Unfortunately, the appropriate individuals are not available this week..."
McCoy responded with this statement: "Considering the many officials BP has on standby in the Gulf Coast region, it is simply incomprehensible that the company could not send at least one to these hearings to give our citizens, lawmakers, and business leaders their viewpoint on this spill disaster. We are not holding these hearings to conduct a witch hunt."
A BP representative confirmed to the Associated Press that the "appropriate BP representatives" were in Washington, D.C.
Transocean and Halliburton also did not attend the hearings.
For more: Think Progress