US Representative Edward J. Markey, who is running for the US Senate seat vacated by John F. Kerry, is releasing a new ad Thursday, focused on his response to the BP oil disaster in 2010.
The ad highlights the pressure Markey put on BP to post an online “spillcam” of oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico and his accusations that the company lied about the extent of the damage.
The 30-second spot is Markey’s second focusing on policy issues in the race, while his rival for the Democratic Senate nomination, US Representative Stephen F. Lynch, continues to spotlight his life story.
Markey’s latest ad focuses on his efforts to hold BP accountable after the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded in July 2010, killing 11 people and releasing a massive gusher of oil 5,000 feet below the surface of the ocean, the worst environmental disaster in US history.
In the days after the explosion, Markey exhorted BP to make available on the Web its live video of the spill, arguing that the images would inform the public about the extent of damage. When the company agreed, the “spillcam” became an Internet sensation, vividly illustrating the giant plumes of oil spewing into the sea.
Markey also conducted an investigation that accused BP of intentionally downplaying the extent of the spill, at the same time the company’s internal documents indicated that its executives knew the damage was much greater.
BP ended up pleading guilty to felony manslaughter, environmental crimes, and obstruction of Congress and agreed to pay $4 billion in criminal fines and penalties.
Environmental groups say Markey, who chaired the now-defunct House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, has been a longtime advocate in Congress in fighting climate change and protecting natural resources.
The groups have also voiced their differences with Lynch over his support for the Keystone XL oil pipeline, which Markey opposes.
The new Markey ad shows images of the BP disaster, including the Deepwater rig in flames, a pelican covered in oil, and spillcam video of oil flowing into the ocean.
“When BP tried to avoid responsibility, one man said no,” a narrator says in the ad. “Massachusetts Congressman Ed Markey put the so-called spillcam online. Ed Markey uncovered the extent of the damage. And when BP executives lied, Ed Markey held them accountable.”
Markey closes the ad by declaring, “I’m Ed Markey and I approve this message because I believe polluters must pay.”
Text at the end of the ad shows Markey’s endorsements by the Sierra Club and the League of Conservation Voters, two of the environmental groups that have backed him over Lynch in the race.
The three Republicans vying for the GOP nomination, Gabriel Gomez, Michael Sullivan, and Daniel Winslow, have not yet aired television ads.