BP CEO Tony Hayward traveled to Washington DC today to participate in a Congressional hearing on the BP oil spill. He prepared written remarks that say, among other things that he's "deeply sorry" the disaster. Hayward claims to "fully grasp the terrible reality of the situation" and wishes he had more answers to the more questions. After facing questions and charges regarding the spill by various congressmen, he began delivering his opening remarks, which is what you're seeing now.The primary purpose of the visit appeared to be to make up for lost empathy. After he and BP Chariman Carl-Henric Svanberg have now clumsily uttered too many gaffes to count: after saying how "big oil companies care about the 'small people'" and how Hayward "wants his life back", and saying that the spill is tiny compared to the big ocean, the BP upper management hasn't exactly endeared themselves to the American people.
So today, they took to the hot seat to explain just how sorry they were. Here's Hayward:
"People lost their lives; others were injured; and the Gulf Coast environment and communities are suffering. This is unacceptable, I understand that, and let me be very clear: I fully grasp the terrible reality of the situation."I'll let you readers out there be the judge of whether Hayward can possibly grasp how terrible this reality really is.
On Congress' mind is the $20 billion fund BP agreed to put together to provide individuals and families whose lives have been affected by the spill. Congressman Markey (D-MA) spoke about its necessity at length, while attacking BP for its various wrongdoings - its fabricated response plan, its lack of transparency, and its poor safety record.
11:24 Update: An outraged woman interrupts the hearing, right before Hayward begins to give his opening remarks, uttering what sounded like a call to have the CEO 'tarred'. She was escorted out of the building.
11:34: Hayward just wrapped his opening remarks, and the session is being delayed so Congress can make a vote. The hearing will resume at noon.