State hearings open with no oil officials present

No officials from BP, Halliburton or Transocean will attend the Mississippi House of Representatives hearings on the Gulf of Mexico oil spill this week, legislative officials said.

The hearings got under way here at the state Capitol this morning, with briefings by state officials on the spill. News came before noon that officials from those three companies, though invited, would not attend. Members of the Coast legislative delegation were in the House chambers, but very few upland lawmakers have shown up for the meetings yet.

House Speaker Billy McCoy, D-Rienzi, had said he hoped BP officials would attend to answer lawmakers' questions.

“We need to hear a response from them to our questions,” McCoy said. “These hearings are to gather information.”

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