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Capps to Seek Subpoena Power for Spill Commission

The congresswoman also calls on BP to halt dividend payments and advertising

Reps. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, and Ed Markey, D-Mass., announced Tuesday that they will introduce legislation on Wednesday to grant subpoena power to the bipartisan commission established by President Barack Obama last month to investigate the causes and effects of BP’s oil spill in the Gulf and evaluate long-term prospects for offshore oil and gas drilling.

The U.S. Constitution doesn’t implicitly or explicitly grant the president any general subpoena power authority, necessitating congressional action.

“Giving the bipartisan commission this important tool is absolutely essential to ensuring it can conduct a complete analysis of the systemic industry and regulatory failures that led to this tragedy and avert future disasters,” Capps said. “Subpoena power will ensure the commission cannot be stonewalled by BP or any other entity in its search for answers and guarantee the public that this will be a completely thorough and transparent investigation. I am glad to be able to supplement current efforts to investigate the spill by introducing this legislation.”

The commission — co-chaired by former Sen. Bob Graham of Florida and former Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Bill Reilly — is modeled on legislation Capps and Markey introduced (House Resolution 5241) to ensure a thorough examination of BP’s spill.

On Tuesday, Capps and her colleagues demanded that BP postpone $10 billion in dividend payments to stockholders and stop a $50 million advertising campaign until the spill has been stopped and the mess cleaned up.

“There should not be a single cent spent on television ads or stock dividends until the leaks are stopped, the spill contained and the people of the Gulf made whole,” she said. “If BP is so concerned about its public image, it should get the hole completely plugged and clean up the big mess it made.”

— Ashley Schapitl is the press secretary for Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara.


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