Today, the Senate defeated a bill sponsored by Senator McConnell (S. 953) that would have forced destructive offshore oil leasing off the coast of Virginia and required that planned leases proceed without rigorous environmental analysis by deeming pre-Deepwater Horizon environmental impact statements adequate. The bill would also limit access to courts for those objecting to offshore drilling decisions anywhere in the U.S. and require hasty drilling permit decisions.
Mike Gravitz, Oceans Advocate for Environment America said the following:
“Yesterday, Big Oil hit a gusher in the Senate worth over $2 billion per year by preserving generous tax breaks for some of the world’s most profitable oil companies. Today, Big Oil and its allies in the Senate were defeated in an attempt to threaten our coasts by recklessly speeding up drilling permits, opening up drilling off the coast of Virginia, and proceeding with huge lease sales based on environmental analyses that we know are wrong.
“Under the cover of high gas prices, the ‘Drill, Baby, Drill’ crowd keeps trying to speed up drilling and expand the areas drilled. Instead, Congress should permanently protect our clean oceans and beaches off places like Virginia and the eastern Gulf of Mexico from the kinds of environmental and economic destruction that BP’s Deepwater Horizon spill caused in the Gulf.
“If we really want to cut gas prices and save our coasts, it’s time for Americans to transition off oil and move to renewable sources of energy like wind and solar power. We need to increase gas mileage, improve building efficiency and expand public transit. These are the policies that will get us off oil and remove the stranglehold that oil companies have on our country.”