At a House hearing Wednesday, Representative Frank Pallone (NJ-06) told the Department of Interior and Minerals Management Service that the president should reverse its policy to expand drilling off the Atlantic coast. The oil spill in the Gulf should teach the administration a lesson that drilling in deepwater areas should be off limits.
"Despite the oil spill spreading everyday and our worst fears of the spill's impact playing out in the news, the administration has yet to reverse its decision to open the Atlantic coast to drilling," said Pallone. "I ask the president to reconsider banning all new leases of offshore drilling sites nationwide. Ultimately the technology doesn't exist to drill anywhere without accident at these depths. For a long time big oil has tried to tell us otherwise, but now the cat is out of the bag."
During the hearing, Pallone asked whether the administration would support legislative action by Congress to reinstate a ban on the expansion of offshore drilling. He also asked if MMS plans to revisit their current five-year plan which continues to open the Atlantic coast to offshore drilling and the potential environmental and economic devastation. Pallone received no clear answer to his questions.
"The administration's attitude toward offshore drilling policy needs to break with the past. The path we are on right now resulted in the Exxon-Valdez spill 20 years ago and now the current spill in the Gulf which is predicted to be the worst ever spill off of the U.S. coast. We need to refocus our efforts on renewable resources and move away from our addiction to oil," said Pallone. "I don't want the administration to wait until the next devastating spill before finally changing the current policy."