A Louisiana Democratic congressman teared up during a subcommittee hearing into the causes of the oil spill now threatening the Gulf of Mexico and was unable to finish his remarks.

"Excuse me," said Rep. Charlie Melancon (D-LA), before leaving the hearing.

"I'm sick of it," Melancon said in his opening remarks, recalling the recent history of natural disasters to plague the Gulf coast. He added that "the recovery phase is just as critical as the response phase. Our culture is threatened, our coastal economy is threatened, and everything that I know and love is at risk."

"Even though this marsh lies," said a struggling Melancon.

He took a deep breath and attempted to continue. "...along coastal Louisiana, these are America's wetlands."

"Excuse me," Melancon's voice cracked.

Melancon, a third-term House member, is challenging Republican Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) for his Senate seat.

Melancon joined MSNBC's Rachel Maddow to discuss the damage done to the Gulf of Mexico and the Gulf Coat by the BP oil disaster Thursday night.

This video is of the subcommittee hearing held Thursday.

This video is from MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show, broadcast May 27, 2010.