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Obama Is Reckless and Misguided to Allow Deepwater Drilling to Resume in Gulf

Statement of Tyson Slocum, Director of Public Citizen’s Energy Program

WASHINGTON - The Obama administration’s plan to allow oil companies
to resume deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico is misguided and
reckless.

We still have no way to address a catastrophic blowout
in deep water, either by stemming the flow of oil or fixing the broken
blowout preventer. Without technology in hand to stop millions of
gallons of oil from spewing from the bottom of the ocean, we are simply
gambling with our environment. We can’t afford to count on luck to keep
the oceans, beaches and tourism industries safe.

It is laudable that the administration has reformed
safety rules in the wake of the BP disaster, but accidents and mistakes
still happen. The BP disaster claimed 11 lives, dumped millions of
barrels of oil into the Gulf – doing untold damage – and soiled beaches
in five states. We cannot afford to risk a repeat. We have no way of
stopping another BP gusher.

Further, the current deepwater ban affects only about
two dozen drilling rigs, leaving plenty of opportunities for shallow
drilling on the Continental Shelf. Oil prices have not gone up
significantly, proving that continuing the deepwater ban does not
inhibit our access to energy supplies and hasn’t created problems for
consumers. But it does keep us and the environment safe from another
accident.

A continued focus on federal investments in energy
efficiency and renewable energy is the best path forward for our energy
future and for creating clean, sustainable jobs.

We urge the president to reconsider his decision and
act in the interests of the environment, oil rig workers and people of
the Gulf – not the oil industry.

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Public Citizen is a national, nonprofit consumer advocacy organization founded in 1971 to represent consumer interests in Congress, the executive branch and the courts.

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