U.S. Congressman weighs in on the oil crisis

By Adam Hooper - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Time and patience are running thin, as oil continues to pour into the gulf.

"Somebody, somewhere didn't do their homework to make sure that, when they put a rig out there, that it was as safe as it could be," said United State Representative, Charlie Melancon.

He believes, to keep people, and the environment safe in the future, companies looking to drill must be held accountable.

"You have to make them, want to be safe, and want to get it right the first time," said Melancon.

One way to ensure safety, Melancon said, is by removing caps of financial responsibility in the event of a spill.

"There is big money potential out there, there is big risk out there. If you are going to go out there and do it, and do it right, if you give them caps, then they've got no incentives," said Melancon.

In other words, if companies know they will be responsible for all of the cleanup they might take more precautions to prevent a spill in the first place. B.P. has already announced they would not be seeking any caps, and plan to honor all legitimate claims.

Meanwhile, crews made up of out of work fishermen are working to clean up the coast. The congressman said it is important to keep their safety in mind by placing health units in the work areas. But, he is taking it a step further by including mental health services as well.

"A friend of mine told me about a fisherman who said he would just as soon shoot himself, because he lost everything in Katrina, and he was just starting to get back on his feet. He was starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and then boom," said Melancon.

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