Gulf spill widows: Don't stop drilling

By Ben Rooney, staff reporter


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The widows of two men killed on the Deepwater Horizon drill rig urged lawmakers Monday to allow drilling in the Gulf of Mexico to continue, saying the oil industry is a major source of income for families in the region.

"Drilling in the gulf must continue," said Courtney Kemp, of Jonesville, La., whose husband was killed along with 10 other workers when the drill rig exploded and sank in April. The rig, operated by Transocean, was contracted to develop a well leased by BP.

"If drilling ceases, not only would off-shore employees lose their jobs," said Kemp, "but the trickle-down effect would be devastating not only to the coastal states, but eventually to the entire country."

The comments came during a hearing of the House subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations in Chalmette, La., to explore the local impact of the oil spill in the Gulf. It was the latest in a series of Congressional hearings aimed at exploring the causes and consequences of the worst oil spill in U.S. history.

Natalie Roshto, of Liberty, Miss., whose husband Shane also died in the disaster, said lawmakers should focus on enforcing existing regulations to prevent another disaster, rather than creating new rules for the oil industry.

"I fully support offshore drilling because like Shane, many men and women depend on this as a means to provide for their families and to provide our country with a commodity that is a necessary part of everyday life," she said.

In response, Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., said he believes drilling will continue in the Gulf, but he cautioned that a "pause" is necessary to determine what caused the current disaster. The government has instituted a six-month moratorium on deepwater drilling in the Gulf pending the outcome of an independent investigation in to the disaster.

"There will always be drilling in the outer continental shelf," he said. "We just need to do it better."

While the witnesses supported off-shore drilling, they said more needs to be done to prevent oil companies from putting profits ahead of safety.

Roshto said her husband spoke highly of Transocean (RIG), but she suggested that sometimes "business agendas" took priority over safety issues.

"BP's priority is always safety," BP spokesman Robert Wine told CNN.

The witnesses also urged lawmakers to revise legislation that limits compensation for spouses of workers killed on the high seas and to ensure that BP (BP) is held accountable for all costs associated with the disaster.

"I really believe that BP will never feel they pain that we feel," said Kemp. "The only way that BP will feel the pain that we feel is if it comes out of their own pockets." To top of page

Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 16,805.41 127.51 0.76%
Nasdaq 4,483.72 30.92 0.69%
S&P 500 1,964.58 13.76 0.71%
Treasuries 2.27 -0.00 -0.09%
Data as of 9:23pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
Ford Motor Co 13.78 -0.62 -4.31%
Microsoft Corp 46.13 1.11 2.47%
Apple Inc 105.22 0.39 0.37%
Bank of America Corp... 16.72 0.12 0.72%
Yahoo! Inc 43.50 0.90 2.11%
Data as of Oct 24

Sections

New York headlines took a straight forward and direct approach with NYC's Ebola news. More

The midterm elections are around the corner, and the economy remains a top concern. With unemployment down and inflation low, why do people still feel the economy stinks? More

Shares of Facebook recently topped $80. They've more than quadrupled from their post-IPO lows of two years ago. Can Mark Zuckerberg keep the momentum in mobile going? More

Host a furniture market. Here's how small town High Point, N.C. rakes in this much money -- twice a year. More

If you're looking to fly this holiday season, the clock's ticking to get the best prices. More

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.