Cao Leads Homeland Security Hearing on Oil Spill

September 23, 2010

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The House Committee on Homeland Security held a full committee hearing yesterday, which focused on the Deepwater Horizon disaster and lessons which could be taken from the disaster.

Rep. Anh “Joseph” Cao questioned witnesses from the Ranking Member’s Chair after being granted the opportunity from Ranking Member Peter King. Witnesses included actor Kevin Costner and St. Bernard Parish President Craig Taffaro. Testimony focused largely on the poor coordination and information sharing between federal coordinators and local officials during disaster response. Cao and a number of other members called for additional hearings to explore how the working relationship between federal agencies and local officials during disaster response can be improved.

During the hearing the Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security, Richard Skinner, testified that his department and FEMA had been barred from working on a national planning program by the Obama Administration. In his testimony Skinner says, “As I said before, DHS and FEMA were making progress on the National Planning Scenarios; however, in July 2009, the White House National Security Staff (NSS) began a review of HSPD-8 and temporarily put on hold efforts to complete the remaining plans.”

This news comes just after Cao pointed to an alleged move by the Administration to suppress scientific information about the scope and impact of the spill. Cao vowed to continue to push the Administration for transparency, “I challenge the Obama Administration to be transparent in its dealings with BP and the public, and to comply with FOIA requests and releasing all factual information related to the spill and its impacts.”

Rep. Cao is a member of the House Committee on Homeland Security’s subcommittee on Management, Investigations and Oversight and Deputy Ranking Member of the subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Communications and Response.

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