Pelosi: Our Coasts Need Lasting Protection from Oil and Gas Drilling
Speaker-designate Nancy Pelosi released the following statement today on news media reports that President Bush is considering lifting the presidential moratorium protecting Alaska's Bristol Bay from oil and gas drilling:
"The Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989 showed the world the devastation and destruction that oil spills could have on Alaska's fragile waters. Under intense pressure from an angry public, Congress did the right thing by placing Alaska's Bristol Bay under a moratorium; President Clinton later also signed an executive moratorium. Oil spills would devastate Bristol Bay's prolific fishing industry, Native American communities, tourism industry, abundant marine life, and diverse and endangered wildlife.
"The American people paid $95 million to buy back leases from oil companies to ensure that Bristol Bay would be forever protected from devastating oil spills. Yet this week, with the stroke of a pen, President George W. Bush is expected to reverse progress and turn back the clock by lifting the presidential moratorium. Allowing oil drilling to go forward in Bristol Bay puts our precious environment at risk. Allowing new oil company leasing of these lands is an insult to all taxpayers who have helped protect them.
"Our domestic oil supplies are valuable but limited. We should not sacrifice our marine ecosystems, robust tourist economies, and fishing communities for the sake of extracting every last drop of oil from American soil.
"Our fragile coasts, from Alaska to California to Florida, require greater protection than a mere presidential moratorium that can be easily lifted. Lasting protection under the law is essential. So is a comprehensive plan that builds our economy around clean, homegrown, renewable energy sources and exciting new technologies.
"While the Bush Administration dances to the oil companies' tune, Democrats intend to achieve energy independence within 10 years."