Congressman Bruce Braley will participate in two hearings this week about the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Braley, who is a Democrat from Waterloo, went to Louisiana last week for a field hearing held by the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.

“Until you’re up here, over the site, you cannot appreciate the magnitude of this oil spill and how far-reaching this oil dispersal is,” Braley said. The Coast Guard flew Braley and other committee members over the spill zone and Braley recorded a YouTube video while riding in the massive helicopter.

“We had a chance to see with the rear hatch open the plumes of oil, the burn-off that’s going on and the chemical dispersants that are being applied,” Braley said. “We also could smell the powerful aroma around the oil head of the oil sheen coming off the water.” This Thursday, the House Energy Committee will hold a hearing to examine B-P’s role in the oil spill. The day before, on Wednesday, the committee will hear from officials in the Department of Health and Human Services about that agency’s response to the spill.