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Republican Representative Joe Barton of Texas

Republican Joe Barton of Texas is ranking minority member of the House's Energy & Commerce Committee. A receiver of big oil money, he told BP's Tony Hayward, "I'm sorry."

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing but there he was, an elected Representative, apologizing to BP’s CEO Tony Hayward on the floor of the Congress of the United States!

“I’m sorry,” Representative Joe Barton, the Republican from Texas, said to Hayward who sat in front of the Energy & Commerce Committee as hearings got under way this morning.  Referring to the meeting yesterday with President Obama at the White House as “a shakedown,” Barton said he was “ashamed” for how Hayward and BP were treated “at the White House yesterday.”

What?

It’s unbelievable what big-oil money can do.  I know that Barton has received over $1 million from oil companies to fund his campaigns since 2000.  And I know that he has, because of that funding, always supported legislation favoring more drilling and less alternative resources.  But, that’s different, right?  Or it should be.

Taking money from big-oil and favoring legislation supporting them are politics as usual.  I’d like to see campaign finance reform but that’s for another day.

Right now, we’ve got the worst oil disaster in history on our hands, and it has not yet been stopped.  We don’t know what all the consequences will be or what the cost will be financially, environmentally, and to us as a people.

Politics as usual is one thing, but to let BP off the hook for their irresponsibility?  And to do it on the floor of Congress?

BP was warned by Halliburton and others in the industry not to continue with the well at the Deepwater Horizon facility before it exploded on April 20.  They chose to ignore all warnings even from within their own ranks.  They also chose to go cheap on their operations.

After yesterday’s meeting, BP’s Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg referred to American citizens of the Gulf region as “small people” and he said this right on the White House lawn!

And today Barton apologizes?!

Let’s hope that the residents of Texas’ 6th District, who are close to the Gulf region, realize that by his apology to BP, that Barton is looking at them as “small people” too, and that they vote him out in the Fall.

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