Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr., who has led the fight to ban all new offshore drilling, welcomed the policy reversal announced by the Obama Administration on Wednesday in extending the ban on new offshore drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico and off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts.
The sponsor of the "No New Drilling Act of 2010," which would write into law a permanent ban on drilling in areas not currently leased, Pallone has written to the President and Interior Secretary Salazar urging them to back down from their intention to expand oil and gas development in the Gulf, the Atlantic and Pacific waters.
"Unfortunately, it took the terrible tragedy in the Gulf of Mexico for many to learn the lesson that offshore drilling is a real and present danger that can cause lasting harm to the environment and the economy," said Pallone. "I welcome this action by the Obama Administration as a significant step in preventing future oil spills in the Eastern Gulf and along the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. A ban on new drilling is the best way to protect our beaches and coastal waters as invaluable natural resources that support so much commercial and recreational activities."
Pallone wrote to Secretary Salazar in April of this year -- before the Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico -- urging him to remove any approvals to pursue oil or gas exploration in the Outer Continental Shelf of the Atlantic from the five-year plan.
"The bottom line is that these spills happen all the time and they will continue to occur if new drilling is allowed," said Pallone. "The next step is to put a permanent ban into law by approving the "No New Drilling Act.' Today's action is the right thing to do. A permanent ban would be the best thing to do."