Rep. Melancon: Time to Get Back to Work
Today, in response to Department of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar's announcement that the moratorium on deepwater drilling will be lifted, Congressman Charlie Melancon (LA-03) released the following statement:
"For months now, I have been working to end the job-killing moratorium on offshore drilling" said Rep. Melancon. "I'm glad that Secretary Salazar has finally come to understand that we can drill for oil and gas safely in the Gulf. Our workers need to get back to work on those rigs to provide the jobs and energy security we need. If rigs comply with the regulations that are necessary to keep another BP disaster from ever happening again, they should be allowed to resume work immediately."
The offshore energy industry is a major economic engine for south Louisiana, providing thousands of jobs and supporting numerous locally-based service companies in Congressman Melancon's Congressional district.
Congressman Melancon has been pressing the federal government since May to end the moratorium on deep-water drilling and speed up the permitting process for shallow water drilling applications. In July, the House of Representatives passed Congressman Melancon's amendment to lift the official moratorium on deepwater drilling and end the "de facto" moratorium that is preventing new shallow water permits from being issued. The Melancon Amendment would prevent the Department of the Interior from delaying permits, and instead require decisions to be made within 30 days. The amendment would also require the Department to issue all new safety requirements by the date of the bill's enactment.
The Melancon Amendment would also immediately lift the deepwater moratorium on offshore drilling for companies that meet the new safety requirements issued by the Department of the Interior in the wake of the explosion. Specifically, the amendment mandates that if an application for a permit to drill complies with the "Notice to Lessees" 5 and 6, complies with any further safety measures recommended by the Secretary, and has completed all required safety inspections, the moratorium will not apply to the drilling application. The Senate failed to pass the Melancon Amendment before adjourning last week for the next six weeks.