Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. issued the below statement on Thursday in reaction to the oil rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico:
Pallone is the lead sponsor of the No New Drilling Act of 2010, which would essentially put a stop to any new offshore drilling in the United States, and a supporter of The CLEAR Act, legislation approved by the House in response to the Deepwater Horizon disaster, that imposes strong reforms in the oversight and regulation of offshore drilling.
"The environmental and economic damage caused by the Deepwater Horizon disaster hasn't been fully calculated and we have another explosion and another potential disaster. How many accidents are needed and how much environmental and economic damage must we suffer before we act to contain and control the source of the danger: offshore drilling?
"Fortunately, there are no fatalities this time, but this was an accident waiting to happen.
"Even if we are lucky enough to escape another catastrophe this time, there are future disasters in the making if we don't learn the hard lessons of all the accidents and all the oil spills that have spread so much damage in so many ways.
"With Hurricane Earl currently barreling up the East Coast, it is important to keep in mind the dangers hurricanes can cause to offshore oil rigs. In 2005 Hurricanes Katrina and Rita caused 124 offshore spills totaling 743,700 gallons, according to a report by the Minerals Management Service. If oil rigs currently operated off the East Coast, Hurricane Earl could cause irreparable environmental damage on the scale of the Deepwater Horizon disaster.
"This latest explosion should be taken seriously. It is a clear signal of the ongoing dangers of drilling for oil in coastal waters and a harsh warning of potential accidents in the future. We ignore these warning signs at our own peril."