I disagree with the above post. Congress approves drilling permits offshore, and regulates both resources and the environment through government agencies like the EPA and the Department of Ecology and Department of the Interior. Over the past several years, oil industry executives were hired to run some of these agencies, meaning the oil companies more or less regulated themselves. This led to sloppy practices and shortcuts that tried to maximize profits, and in this case, led to a disastrous oil leak. Now Congress is coming in, after the fact, and trying to clean up the inspection process, and require BP to pay much more of the cleanup costs and damages than the previous law had capped at a mere $75 million.
I have to say that I honestly have no idea why Congress is getting involved. To say that Congress's involvement is going to change anything at this point is silly.
I believe our Congress is getting involved because it has made a habit of doing so whenever crisis erupts. But at this point, I have a really hard time believing that any laws or speeches or final demands by President Obama himself or anyone else is going to affect the attempt at cleanup.
BP is losing a lot of money every minute. They are going to do everything in their power to stop this, clean it up, and save the company. They would do this with or without Big Brother America breathing down their necks.
Have you ever done something so stupid that the natural consequences of your actions were enough to teach you a lesson? Possibly even more than enough? For example, what if you totalled your own car - one that you paid for and now have to replace with your own money? If your parents ended up grounding you on top of that or taking away your driving priveledges (without a car driving was going to be impossible anyway) doesn't the punishment seem like a silly and moot point? I think this is one of those instances.
Congressional involvement makes sense because of the threat to the nation posed by situations such as the oil spill in the gulf. The endangerment to wildlife and natural habitat, as well as to individuals who make their living off of the coast are reasons enough for Congress to become involved in this sordid affair. I think that Congress could help drive a solution to this problem. Business executives have a tendency to act quicker and with more effectiveness when they recognize that Congressional oversight is a looming reality. Additionally, I think that Congress does need to involve itself with ensuring that off- short drilling carries with it a great deal of rules and expectations to make sure that something as horrible as this does not happen again.
Transocean is responsible because they are the ones who were running the oil drilling rig when the well exploded and started to leak. They are the ones who made the mistakes that led to this.
Congress is getting involved mainly because Congress is the body that is ultimately responsible for making laws regulating drilling for oil in the United States. So it is their responsibility to understand why the accident happened and to do whatever is possible to make sure that it does not happen again. They need to discover whether the rules were too lax on safety issues or whether the rules were strict enough but weren't being followed.