Tony Hayward, CEO of BP, appeared before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations on Thursday. Members grew increasingly frustrated as Hayward repeatedly denied involvement in decision-making regarding the equipment and processes that led to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
While Hayward apologized for the catastrophe and withstood an hour of critical commentary, committee members accused him of evasion and avoiding responsibility for the worst oil spill in US history.
Despite criticisms Hayward received from lawmakers, Republican Joe Barton of Texas stunned the committee—and members of his own party—when he apologized for what he considered the White House's “$20 billion shakedown.”
The oil spill has polluted 120 miles of US coastline, threatened fishing and tourism industries, and killed various species of birds and sea life. Lawmakers and several oil industry execs have accused BP of cutting corners and favoring cost savings over safety.