For Immediate Release, June 21, 2006
Audubon * Clean Ocean Action * Defenders of Wildlife * League of Conservation Voters * Natural Resources Defense Council
U.S. PIRG * Sierra Club * World Wildlife Fund
Rep. Pombo's Committee Moves to Lift25-year-old Off-shore Drilling Moratorium
"A giveaway to profit-laden oil companies"
"Today the House Resources Committee, led by Rep. Richard Pombo, is set to lift the 25-year-old moratorium on off-shore drilling, opening the door for oil rigs to be built as close as three miles from U.S. shores. The bill forces states that want to protect their coasts to jump through hoops and petition every five years to reinstate the ban in their waters. It also marks a disastrous retreat from the long-standing bipartisan commitment to protecting our nation's fragile coastline from the perils of offshore drilling.
"Drilling for oil and gas is a dirty business. Any spill off the East Coast has the potential to affect huge swaths of the Atlantic coastline. A spill in Virginia could easily become New Jersey's mess to clean up, and pollution from drilling off the coast of Georgia could easily poison the waters of the Carolinas. Even a small spill could wreak havoc on the fragile coastline and beach areas of numerous states and jeopardize billions in tourism revenue. You simply cannot guarantee protection for one state's coast when a neighboring state is drilling well after well.
"Moreover, lifting the moratorium on off-shore drilling will do very little to reduce our dependence on oil or cut gas prices. It is by far the slowest, dirtiest, most expensive way to meet our energy needs. Lawmakers could accomplish so much more if they focused on clean energy solutions that could start saving consumers money right away, while safeguarding America's fragile coastline. Instead they focus on the same tired, old drilling proposals that only benefit an oil industry that already has access to more than 80 percent of the oil and gas resources on the Outer Continental Shelf.
"Now, more than ever, our nation needs forward-thinking leadership when it comes to energy policy, not more giveaways to Mr. Pombo's friends in the profit-laden oil business."
Annie Strickler, Sierra Club: 415-977-5619
William Lutz, Defenders of Wildlife: 202-772-0269
Liz Hitchcock, US PIRG: 202-546-9470
Tony Iallonardo, Audubon: 202-861-2242 x3042
Tiernan Sittenfeld, League of Conservation Voters: 202-454-4582
Jim Presswood, NRDC: 202-306-2177
Keith Rella, Clean Ocean Action: 732-872-0111
Tom Lalley, WWF: 202-778-9544