Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) couldn't hold back tears during a Senate speech Monday commemorating the five-year anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon explosion that took 11 lives.
"These were just people we grew up with," Cassidy said on the Senate floor before reading the names and stories of the men who were killed. "So I apologize for being emotional, but these are our neighbors."
The BP blowout is thought to have caused the worst marine oil spill in U.S. history, and conservationists have pointed to it as evidence of the high risks associated with the petroleum industry.
BP, which owned the rig, is waiting for a federal court to decide how much it owes in fines for violating the Clean Water Act, The Associated Press reported. The well spewed nearly 4 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. A ruling, expected this summer, will fine BP an estimated $1,100 to $4,300 per barrel.
Last week, the Obama administration proposed new regulations that would increase oversight of offshore oil drilling equipment and make sure that malfunctioning wells can be sealed in an emergency, the AP reported.