Statement on Hearing of Chairman Hastings’ Gift to the Oil Industry

For Immediate Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources had a legislative hearing on three bills encouraging the reckless expansion of offshore drilling, and the House Science and Technology Subcommittee on Energy and Environment heard testimony on safety concerns and spill response technologies.

Mike Gravitz, Oceans Advocate of Environment America said the following:

“Instead of responding to the worst oil spill in the nation’s history, today’s hearing rewards oil industry greed and negligence at the expense of the environment and American taxpayers.

“It is difficult to imagine legislation that does more for the oil industry while doing less for the oceans that belong to all Americans. House Natural Resources Chairman Doc Hastings’ bills require more leasing, speeding up the permitting process, and drilling in vital coastal ecosystems, while doing nothing to improve drilling safety, nothing to increase liability for damages, nothing to improve oil spill cleanup, nothing to reform offshore oil revenues, and nothing to address any of the Oil Spill Commission’s recommendations.

“Furthermore, these bills will only enrich the oil industry at taxpayers’ expense as gas prices and quarterly profits soar. In a time when deficits matter, these bills fail to recapture billions of dollars in outdated tax breaks – in fact, these bills will stuff more taxpayer dollars into the pockets of Big Oil by lowering future lease payments and incentivizing exploratory activities that oil companies would need to conduct anyway.

“Offshore drilling is too dirty and dangerous to consider expanding, let alone supporting with our tax dollars. Instead, America must transition off oil entirely and move urgently to renewable sources of energy like wind and solar. We must improve mass transit and increase gas mileage and building efficiency. These are the policies that will get us off oil and remove the stranglehold that oil companies have on our country.”