Today, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 1230, the Restarting American Offshore Leasing Act. Reversing President Obama’s decision to cancel drilling off the coast of Virginia, this bill requires leasing in a 3 million acre area at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, speeds up leasing in the Gulf of Mexico, and bases those leases on the flawed environmental analysis that was done prior to the BP oil spill last summer.
Mike Gravitz, Oceans Advocate of Environment America said the following:
“In light of the BP oil disaster, Congress should permanently protect our sensitive coasts and valuable oceans from the kinds of environmental and economic devastation the BP spill brought to the Gulf of Mexico. Instead, the first drilling legislation this Congress is trying to pass expands offshore drilling at the mouth of the sensitive Chesapeake Bay and speeds up leasing in the Gulf of Mexico while ignoring lessons from the BP oil spill.
“The bill doubles down on offshore drilling instead of protecting sensitive places, making drilling safer, increasing liability for economic damages, or doing anything to restore the Gulf. In effect, Congress is telling oil companies and the drilling agency, ‘Forget the Gulf oil spill; Forget the Oil Spill Commission recommendations; Full speed ahead on drilling’.
“If we really want to do something effective about the price of gas, it’s time for Americans to transition off oil and move to renewable sources of energy. 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. Today’s passage of the Hastings bill contributes nothing to those goals and instead takes us backward, threatening our coasts and increasing our dependence on oil and gas.”