Snowe, Collins ready for oil spill hearings

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Maine U.S. Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins will each have a chance to drill for answers from government and company officials regarding the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico next week in separate committee hearings.

Collins, top Republican on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, will face off Monday afternoon with Janet Napolitano, secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, and business officials who have yet to be announced.

The committee will examine both the governmental and business community’s response to the on-going oil spill, according to a release.

Snowe, a senior member of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, is scheduled to participate in a similar hearing on Tuesday. Federal officials from the U.S. Coast Guard, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and business executives from BP and Transocean are expected to testify.

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This hearing will assess government oversight of drilling operations, possible long- and short-term effects of the spill and the effectiveness of cleanup efforts, according to a release.

“As the committee with jurisdiction over two of the agencies charged with responding – NOAA and the Coast Guard – we have an obligation to determine precisely what went wrong, what we can do immediately to literally turn the tide of this epic spill and how we can overhaul past practices to prevent similar occurrences in the future,” Snowe said in the release. “And there should be no mistake — it is starkly evident that wholesale changes are required.”

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