Image: Leaking riser pipe at bottom of sea
BP via Getty Images
The riser pipe leaking oil is seen in this still taken from BP's video of the disaster.
msnbc.com
updated 5/20/2010 2:00:48 PM ET 2010-05-20T18:00:48

After telling BP they would host the live feed if the company itself could or would not, U.S. lawmakers on Thursday started streaming live video of the Gulf oil spill from 5,000 feet below sea level.

"We will triumph over this tragedy through technology and transparency, so our best minds can bring all resources to bear to end this spill," Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., said in a statement.

"This video will allow the world to see the damage that is occurring in our oceans, and reinforce the urgency to end this disaster," he added.

Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., also is hosting a live online feed. "The broader scientific community and our university experts need to see all this so they can add to our knowledge of what happened and why," Nelson said in a statement. "Plus, we need to make sure everybody sees what's going on down there."

Markey added that "this may be BP’s footage, but it’s America’s ocean. ... This footage will aid analysis by independent scientists blocked by BP from coming to see the spill."

Markey chairs the House Energy and Environment Subcommittee within the Energy and Commerce Committee, which is leading a House investigation into the spill.

“BP is going to have to pay for the cleanup of this spill and the long-term damage. Hosting this video on our website is the only freebie they’re going to get,” Markey added.

Heavy demand has been slowing access, but the main live feed sites are:

billnelson.senate.gov/
globalwarming.house.gov/spillcam

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