Statement: House bill doubles down on oil drilling

Media Contacts
Lisa Frank

Executive Director, Environment America; Vice President and D.C. Director, The Public Interest Network

Matt Casale

Former Director, Environment Campaigns, PIRG

Strategic Production Response Act would require more drilling on federal lands, waters

WASHINGTON – The House will start debate Wednesday on a bill that doubles down on expanding oil and gas drilling on public lands and in U.S. oceans. H.R. 21, the Strategic Production Response Act, would require the government to offset any withdrawals from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve with new drilling leases of up to 10 percent of federal lands and oceans. 

Offshore drilling is dirty and dangerous. It threatens the health of ocean life and ocean ecosystems through the ever-present risk of a catastrophic oil spill and the smaller, day-to-day pollution caused by drilling oil and bringing it to shore. As the 2021 Huntington Beach, California, spill made clear, oil drilling can pose a risk even decades after it begins.

Over the course of its lifetime, current fossil fuel infrastructure will produce more than enough emissions to increase global temperatures by 1.5 to 2 degrees Celsius by the end of the century. Scientists say we need to keep temperatures lower than that to avoid the worst effects of global warming. Maintaining or increasing fossil fuel extraction will also result in people across America regularly breathing polluted air that will increase their risk of premature death, trigger asthma attacks and lead to other adverse health impacts. 


Lisa Frank, executive director of Environment America’s Washington Legislative Office, said:  

“Whether on land or at sea, drilling poses an unacceptable risk for our wildlife, wild places and waterways. When we drill, we spill. At a time when we should be moving away from this destructive, dangerous practice — and expanding the use of renewable power — this bill doubles down on the outmoded energy of the past. Lawmakers must reject this foolhardy bill and instead end new drilling off our coasts and protect our public lands, including the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.” 


Matt Casale, environment campaigns director with U.S. PIRG, released the following statement: 

“As every day brings more news of record-breaking rains, floods and storms linked to global warming, it’s time to reject the premise that we can or should renew the unrenewable. The fact is that using fossil fuels has always been a temporary – and destructive – basis for our energy system. We have better, cleaner options now that are cheaper and more widely available than ever. 

“Whether it comes from our lands, waters, or the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, oil keeps us all over a barrel. Our dependence on oil leaves us vulnerable to price shocks caused by events over which we have no control, it pollutes our air and water, and it wreaks havoc on our climate.  Reducing our demand for oil is the best path to a healthier, more stable future. We shouldn’t waste any more time on ‘solutions’ that do more harm than good.”