One year after the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, Congressman Frank Pallone (NJ-6) condemned efforts by Congressional Republicans to open the Atlantic coast to offshore drilling and weaken regulations that would prevent another disastrous oil spill.
"Offshore drilling isn't safe anywhere and it's time our regulations reflect that fact," said Pallone. "If we have learned only one thing from this disaster it's that Big Oil sold the American people a bill of goods and all of us paid the price of severe environmental and economic damage. We can't afford to let this ever happen again."
Currently, the Obama Administration has removed the possibility of offshore drilling along the Atlantic coast in its five year drilling plan. But, Congressional Republicans last week in the House Natural Resources Committee approved legislation that opens up significant portions of our coastal areas to offshore drilling, making another oil spill almost inevitable. The legislative initiatives introduced by Republicans codifies their "Drill, baby, drill" philosophy, setting a dangerous precedent by forcing the Secretary of the Interior to open up previously off-limits areas to offshore drilling.
Additionally, Republican proposals reject findings by a bipartisan federal commission convened in the aftermath of the BP spill which revealed systematic safety failures across the industry. Despite the findings, Republicans continue to pursue policies that weaken oversight of the dangerous and dirty offshore drilling industry.
The BP oil spill went on for several months and spewed 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. It also caused billions of dollars in economic damage.
"Continuing to drill as usual puts all of our shores at risk. A spill of similar magnitude off of the East Coast would have long-term consequences for the fishing and tourism industries, two pillars of New Jersey's economy," Pallone warned.
Pallone recently introduced the No New Drilling Act, legislation that takes a hard line in addressing our vulnerability to another oil spill by forbidding any new leases in federal waters. The legislation would stop the Interior Department from expanding exploration, development or production of oil, and gas in any areas off America's coasts where leases don't currently exist.