Their brown and white feathers coated with crude oil, pelicans were unable to fly from their heavily polluted rookeries as the BP oil spill spread on Monday into Louisiana's fragile coastal marshes . The birds, removed from the endangered species list only six months ago, were the latest victims of the still unfolding environmental and economic catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico. Oil continued to spew from a sea-bottom breach opened 34 days ago when the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded. The Senate energy committee was slated to hold a hearing Tuesday on liability for the spill. Senator Bernie Sanders sits on the panel.
The third in a series of energy committee hearings will examine financial responsibility issues related to offshore oil production. The panel also will discuss legislation that Sanders cosponsored to increase the limits on civil and criminal penalties under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act.
Sanders has said BP should pay "every dime" for the economic and environmental damage caused by the spill that resulted from an April 20 explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig.
Sanders also has called for reinstating a moratorium on drilling off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of the United States. In the Gulf of Mexico, The New York Times reported Monday that at least seven new permits for various types of drilling and five environmental waivers have been granted since the Deepwater Horizon explosion, despite President Obama's pronouncement that no more permits would be granted until the cause of the rig explosion was determined.
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