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Mr. QUIGLEY. Mr. Chairman, 2 years ago, the largest accidental marine oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry ravaged the gulf coast. We passed legislation, we convened commissions, and we swore that we would learn. Have we? I fear the answer is no, and I'm not the only one.
In April of this year, the Presidential panel that investigated the explosion gave the Obama administration a B, the oil industry a C-plus, and Congress a D for refusing to act on any of the recommendations of the commission.
The bill that stands before us today seeks to increase domestic oil and gas production and reduce regulation of the energy industry. I've said it before and I'll say it again, sometimes this place feels like Groundhog Day, and I am Bill Murray. So, in the spirit of déja 2 vu, I am offering an amendment today that mirrors legislation I introduced in the 111th Congress as a response to the BP oil catastrophe.
The amendment would reconfigure the existing presumption that extraction comes first and conservation comes second. The measure would change our Nation's Outer Continental Shelf policy and mandate precaution from a derivative that may imply that protection of the environment is secondary to expeditious development; declares that protection and maintenance--and where appropriate, restoration--of ocean ecosystems and coastal environment is of primary importance; makes clear that OCS leasing, exploration, and development will be authorized in limited areas of the ocean only when science shows that those initiatives can proceed with minimal risk to the health of ocean ecosystems; protects Important Ecological Areas, or IEAs, by requiring the Secretary to consider geographical, geological, and ecological characteristics of the OCS areas. And finally, it amends the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to require specific precautions for areas with particular physical or environmental characterizations from OCS leasing.
In the Commission's review, one of the chairmen stated:
Across the board, we are disappointed with Congress' lack of action. Two years have passed since the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon killed 11 workers, and Congress has yet to enact one piece of legislation to make drilling safer.
Let us do one thing to make our public safe, to keep them healthy, and to spur economic development through conservation and the creation of green jobs.
I reserve the balance of my time.
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