U.S. Rep Joe Pitts, R-16, of East Marlborough Township, participated in Congressional hearings and meetings regarding the response to the cleanup of the BP oil spill.

Last month, the House Energy and Commerce Energy and Environment Subcommittee heard from five top oil company executives regarding the future of offshore drilling and efforts to prevent future spills. Later, the Health Subcommittee held a hearing on the possible health effects of the spill and what actions the government is taking to protect workers and those who live in the Gulf region. Also, The Energy and Environment Subcommittee examined the environmental effects of the spill.

On June 18, Admiral That Allen, United States Coast Guard, briefed Rep. Pitts and other members of Congress on the government response to the spill. Admiral Allen is the commander of the government's relief action in the Gulf Coast region.

Rep. Pitts' statement follows:

"First and foremost, the leak must be stopped and the environmental damage must be repaired. This is an ongoing disaster, and we should put aside partisan politics and find a way to preserve the Gulf Coast environment and economy. Once this is done, it is imperative that we thoroughly understand what happened aboard the Deepwater Horizon so that it never happens again.

"At these hearings we focused extensively on the administration's response efforts, BP's actions before and after the explosion and potential health concerns.

"Hearings won't solve the problem, but Congress plays an important role in providing oversight and accountability regarding all aspects of this tragedy, including appropriateness of the administration and BP response.

Rep. Pitts also issued this statement in response to President Obama's acceptance of General Stanley McChrystal's resignation as the head of U.S. Armed Forces in Afghanistan:

"As a former military officer myself, I understand the vital importance of respecting the chain of command and especially the Commander-in-0Chief. I regret the circumstances under which General McChrystal resigned, but I have confidence in General Petraeus' ability to lead successfully in Afghanistan.

"Right now is a critical moment for the U.S. war effort in Afghanistan. I know that General Petraeus will do everything he can to support our Armed Forces who are engaged in a tough fight to defeat the Taliban and win the hearts and minds of the Afghan people.

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