U.S. House Natural Resources Committee Member Jeff Landry (R, LA-03) issued the following opening statement at today's Full Committee Business Meeting to authorize the Chairman to issue duces tecum subpoenas for the production of documents relating to the offshore oil and natural gas drilling moratorium in the Gulf of Mexico:
"Mr. Chairman, thank you for allowing me to speak. As you all know, this matter is of utmost importance to my constituents and many others who ply their trade in the Gulf of Mexico. Louisiana's 3rd Congressional District was and still remains the epicenter of this disaster.
I have said all along that the most valuable resource in the Gulf of Mexico is not what lies beneath the waters, but the men and women who work tirelessly to provide our great nation with the energy necessary to fuel our economy.
While the families of the 11 lives lost will forever bear a scar of sorrow, we can assure them that their loved ones did not die in vain. This was the request of our body from those very families who pled with Congress to not halt drilling! These families simply asked that we conduct the oversight necessary to ensure that the trade their love ones chose in this country continues in a responsible and safe manner.
Everyone labels this tragedy a disaster! And by all means, it was a disaster at multiple levels. The accident was a disaster; the spill was a disaster; and the President's decision to halt deepwater drilling was a disaster.
This Committee has had countless hearings on the disaster. We have been privileged to multiple reports and have had the opportunity to question those who conducted these investigations. In the end, this accident was caused by a lack of oversight by the government and by human error. The economic disaster was multiplied by the President's declaration of a drilling moratorium in the Gulf.
His senseless declaration, in many ways, was even worse than the spill. And my colleagues on this Committee and throughout the House along with industry have been fighting for recovery ever since.
It's been nearly two years since the disaster. As I warned two years ago -- when the President issued this moratorium, you can't turn this industry off and on like a light switch. Trying to do so injures all Americans!
Once you flip the off switch -- the dominoes of cooks, oil field service companies like work boats, drilling contractors, safety managers, divers, transporters, and many more pieces to this industry begin to fall. To believe that you can simply command these companies back into existence after single-handedly crippling their revenue stream and giving their employees pink slips is impossible.
The moratorium created such a chaos in the permitting process that even after the official moratorium was lifted a de facto moratorium took its place.
The 6-month drilling moratorium and the de facto moratorium that followed caused 162,000 Americans to lose their jobs! So basically this Administration fired the heads of 162,000 families. They told these families that there would be no vacation, that college would have to wait, that the wedding would have to be scaled back, that the American dream was gone and vanished because their government overreacted or simply didn't like whom Mommy or Daddy worked for.
Those children saw their government basically give Mommy and Daddy's jobs to people in Brazil, Egypt, Angola, Ghana!
Furthermore, the President and BP negotiated to satisfy only the claims of people who were impacted by the actual incidence of the spill, not those affected by the disastrous repercussions like the moratorium. What's worse -- Mommy and Daddy lost their jobs, the President and BP agreed to cover the losses of their neighbor who owned a hotel, but ignored them!
Finally, and perhaps most tragically, the drilling moratorium did not solve our national problem of energy independence or give Americans much needed relief at the pump! With all of the President's rhetoric about moving our energy development forward in light of our high gas prices, I think he has a lot of explaining to do.
Mr. Chairman, I am thrilled this Committee's is using its oversight authority to require the Administration to own up to their actions and fully explain why the moratorium was an appropriate response to the Macondo blowout.
Louisiana's 3rd District, the State as a whole, and our country deserve answers."