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Democrat: Lawmakers going to take Hayward's 'hide off'

By the CNN Wire Staff
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Stupak: Apology 'not good enough' for BP
  • Stupak sees pattern of behavior that risked safety to contain costs
  • 5 days before blast, BP drilling engineer called Deepwater Horizon "nightmare well"
  • Project was running 43 days behind on day of explosions
  • Stupak: Hayward "a corporate guy," apologies aren't enough

Washington (CNN) -- Democratic lawmakers will try to build the case of a corporate culture which chose riskier, cheaper methods over safety concerns as they grill BP CEO Tony Hayward on Capitol Hill Thursday.

"Members are angry. Members are frustrated," Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Michigan, told CNN's Dana Bash. "They're going to take his hide off, as they should."

Stupak, who chairs the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, outlined evidence his committee has put together from thousands of pages of internal BP documents.

In Thursday's hearing, Stupak intends to focus on what the lawmaker sees as a pattern of behavior on BP's part that risked safety in order to contain costs and make up for the drilling project's being behind schedule.

Hayward to strike emotional tone

In a letter to Hayward earlier this week, Stupak pointed out that on April 15, just five days before the Deepwater Horizon exploded, BP's own drilling engineer called the ill-fated project a "nightmare well."

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By April 20, the day of the explosion, the project was running 43 days late, costing BP millions of dollars and potentially leading the company to make a number of questionable decisions.

"In spite of the well's difficulties," Stupak also wrote in his letter to Hayward, "BP appears to have made multiple decisions for economic reasons that increased the danger of a catastrophic well failure."

The lawmaker added, "In effect, it appears that BP repeatedly chose risky procedures in order to reduce costs and save time and made minimal efforts to contain the added risk."

What did you think of Hayward's testimony?

In particular, Stupak also told Hayward, the committee is focused on five critical engineering decisions made during the drilling and cementing of the volatile well that may have contributed to the disaster.

In addition, Stupak has honed in on another critical decision by BP -- how the company chose to design the well itself. Faced with two options, the company, Stupak says, chose the one that was cheaper and riskier.

"So what do you have now?," Stupak said Wednesday from his Capitol Hill office, "Twenty billion [dollars] in an escrow fund we just established -- not to count all your other liability, plus the 11 lives [lost during the explosion]? Is it worth it? Is that the cost of doing business?"

And, on the eve of Hayward's appearance on the Hill, Stupak also said the CEO's frequent apologies are not enough.

"He's a corporate guy," Stupak said of Hayward. "At the end of the day, he's going to put his best foot forward. It's not going to ring true with me or the American public and we've got a mess on our hands, a disaster, a catastrophic disaster for our environment and those people lost their lives. He's just going to say 'I'm sorry, it's not going to happen again.' It's not good enough. It's not good enough."

But Stupak also told Bash he intends to be "fair but firm" with Hayward.

Asked about a previous comment where the Democrat said the CEO will be "sliced and diced" when he comes to Capitol Hill, Stupak told CNN that he expected Hayward to be "fairly sliced and diced."

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