U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, and Chairman of the Water and Wildlife Subcommittee, released the following statement in response to President Obama's speech today at Georgetown University on America's energy security.
"Our nation desperately needs a comprehensive energy policy that will lessen our dependence on foreign oil. As the President said today, there are no "quick fixes' to this problem. I applaud him for putting forward a comprehensive plan that includes renewable sources, including nuclear energy, and increasing U.S. oil and gas production. However, I strongly disagree with the President about opening up new oil and gas development off the Mid-Atlantic Coast. The oil companies hit their highest levels of production since 2003. Today, they have over 60 million domestic acres of additional leased areas that could be drilled, but they sit idle. We need to explore and drill currently held lands before risking permanent damage to some of our nation's most sensitive environmental areas, including the Chesapeake Bay.
"I remain dedicated to securing a permanent ban on expanding offshore drilling in those places where the risks far outweigh the benefits, such as the Mid-Atlantic. We can develop an energy policy that protects the environment, bolsters the economy, enhances our security, and re-establishes our global leadership on combating climate change."