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Begich Statement on Deepwater Horizon

U.S. Senator Mark Begich released the following statement in response to the developing Deepwater Horizon accident in the Gulf of Mexico:

"Having suffered the Exxon Valdez oil spill, Alaskans know firsthand the trauma and cost of tragedies such as the ongoing oil well blowout. Our thoughts are with residents of the Gulf Coast as they deal with the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon accident.

"That includes the families of oil field workers killed and injured by the initial explosion, the thousands of spill responders now dealing with the ongoing situation and the fishermen and others who depend on the water for their livelihood.

"Alaskans have expertise in spill response and are ready and willing to lend a hand. I applaud the Alyeska Pipeline Service Company for sending supplies to help in the initial response and I know others are willing to help. I encourage Gov. Parnell to make the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation and its expertise available to Gov. Jindal and the parties working to mitigate the potential damage of this spill.

"Although the situation is still unfolding, I asked the Commerce Committee to schedule a hearing at an appropriate time to determine how this disaster could have been prevented and what additional steps Congress needs to take to ensure it never happens again. I understand efforts to do this are already underway.

"While we ultimately need to understand the causes of this spill and reflect on its lessons, I believe Congress still should pursue a comprehensive energy policy including responsible offshore development.  Such development must ensure our coastal communities are prepared with oil spill prevention and response technology.  We need training to deal with situations such as this and research in mitigation.

"Already one lesson is clear: this spill reinforces my calls for greater investments in oil spill research and response technology and OCS revenue sharing so that local communities are more prepared for emergencies."

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