WASHINGTON - May 19 -
Language in the FY07 Department of Interior Appropriations Bill would have eliminated the 25 year old congressional moratorium against new offshore drilling leases off the shores of 17 states. Tonight the U.S. House of Representatives voted in support of an amendment by Reps. Putnam, Davis, Young, Foley, and Capps that restored this critical coastal protection.
Statement of U.S. PIRG Legislative Director Anna Aurilio
This evening Congress reaffirmed that America’s sensitive coastlines are not open for drilling. Language in the Interior Appropriations bill that removed the moratorium for ‘gas only’ drilling would have allowed oil and gas drilling as close as 3 miles off the beaches, national seashores, wildlife refuges, marshes, and estuaries of 17 states around the U.S. More than half the population of the U.S. lives in a coastal county and many states have recreational economies dependent on clean oceans and beaches.
In a close vote that showed how desperate lawmakers are to appear to be doing something about energy prices, the House reinstated the moratorium on offshore drilling. The American public knows that drilling off our sensitive coasts won’t give them a penny of relief from current rising gas prices.
Offshore oil and gas drilling is the slowest, dirtiest and most expensive way to produce energy. Opening our coasts to destructive drilling would do little to lower prices in the short term or long term or make us energy independent, but it would threaten our beaches with pollution, potential oil spills and put at risk multi-billion dollar coastal tourism and recreation economies.
Improving the gas mileage of our cars and SUVs and implementing clean, renewable energy are cheaper, cleaner, faster and longer-term energy solutions that will reduce energy costs for families.
U.S. PIRG is the national lobby office for the state Public Interest Research Groups. State PIRGs are non-profit, non-partisan public interest advocacy organizations.