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Lawmakers move to expedite Arctic oil drilling

22 Jun 2011  |   Emma Brown

Tags: Arctic, Congress, House

The U.S. House began debating H.R. 2021 this week. If passed, the legislation will expedite the permit process for oil drilling off the Alaskan coast, block challenges to the permits, and scale back air pollution standards.

The White House issued a statement opposing the legislation Tuesday, stating that the bill is detrimental on three accounts:

  • The bill “curtails” EPA authority to ensure that oil drilling “proceeds safely, responsibly, and with opportunities for efficient stakeholder input.”
  • It limits “existing EPA authority to protect human health and the environment.”
  • The legislation would increase federal litigation and “deprive citizens of an important avenue for challenging government action that affects public health.”

Recently National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration chief Jane Lubchenco and the U.S. Coast Guard officials warned that the U.S. remains unprepared to handle oil complications in the Arctic, and that the challenge to contain an oil spill like Deepwater Horizon would be significantly greater under such extreme conditions.

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