WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Divided along party lines, today the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources approved a bill to allow oil exports and expand offshore drilling. In addition to lifting the longstanding ban on crude exports, the measure combines three pro-drilling bills:
- S.1279 by Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.). It requires drilling lease sales off the coasts of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia, and allows those states a share of drilling revenue.
- S.1276 by Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.). It increases oil and gas exploration and drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf in the Gulf of Mexico and, among other damaging provisions, brings an early end to the moratorium now protecting parts of the eastern Gulf.
- S. 1278 by Sen. Lisa Murkowski, (R-Alaska). It extends the terms for certain leases in the Arctic Ocean, opens up more of Alaska’s coast for oil exploration and drilling, and shares revenue from drilling.
Environment America’s Rachel Richardson, director of the organization’s Stop Drilling program, issued the following statement:
“We’ve seen it time and time again: when you drill, you spill. Yet too many senators voted today to expand dirty drilling and put our beachgoers, our coasts, and precious marine life in harm’s way. What’s more, lifting the ban on oil exports increases pollution worldwide and consigns us to a more dangerous climate, while doing nothing to help our energy independence.
“Construction for the nation’s first offshore wind farm has just begun in Rhode Island. That’s the energy source off our coast that senators should pursue, and that our beaches, our wildlife, and future generations deserve. Rather than double down on dirty energy sources of the past, senators should heed wide majorities of Americans and support clean, renewable energy for the future.”