NEW ORLEANS, La. -- Rep. Charlie Melancon, D-Napoleonville, has had enough of BP CEO Tony Hayward.
The representative told ABC’s “Good Morning America” that he thinks Hayward should be relieved of his duties after his company has failed time and again to stop the oil gushing out of the floor of the Gulf of Mexico from where the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded in late April.
“If I had performed the way this company has performed and, of course, look at the stocks and what have happened to them because of this incident, usually the buck stops there,” Melancon said on the morning news show.
He added, “I was watching this week as the CEO of BP was talking about he wants his life back. I’m to the point where I wish the board would call him back and give us somebody that really wants to make sure the people of this state, the people of this Gulf Coast region have what they need when they want to try and fight this oil spill.”
Hayward issued an apology for the statement on BP’s Facebook page Wednesday morning for his Sunday comment on “wanting his life back.”
“I made a hurtful and thoughtless comment on Sunday when I said that ‘I wanted my life back,’ ” Hayward wrote. “When I read that recently, I was appalled. I apologize, especially to the families of the 11 men who lost their lives in this tragic accident. Those words don’t represent how I feel about this tragedy, and certainly don’t represent the hearts of the people of BP – many of whom live and work in the Gulf - who are doing everything they can to make things right.
“My first priority is doing all we can to restore the lives of the people of the Gulf region and their families – to restore their lives, not mine.”
At least 19 million gallons of oil have leaked into the Gulf during the past six weeks and BP’s latest try at slowing down the flow hit a snag Wednesday when the saw cutting down pipes became stuck during cutting.
BP, though, isn’t the only group receiving the ire of Melancon, who is challenging Sen. David Vitter, R- La., in this fall’s elections.
Melancon called for anyone involved in waiving National Environmental Policy Act laws to face criminal charges.
“I think anyone that had a hand in what transpired from the beginning of the application for the permit all the way through the negligence on the rig, we ought to be looking at any aspect of it,” Melancon said.
Meanwhile, also on Wednesday, Vitter sent a letter to Hayward, imploring BP to pay for the barrier islands the federal government already has approved to help stop the oil before it reaches the wetlands.
The email reads, “Last week, after weeks of delay, the federal government finally issued permits for approximately 40 percent of the state of Louisiana’s emergency dredging barrier island plan (six of roughly 40 segments), but only agreed to move forward and have BP pay for approximately two percent of the plan (one small segment). This is completely unacceptable and displays the lack of urgency and can-do attitude that has plagued the federal and BP response from the beginning.
“In keeping with BP’s clear commitment to pay for all response measures and damages associated with this disaster, I request that BP confirm in writing that it will fund all other permitted segments of the above plan now so that the state can contract for and commence all of that work immediately.”