June 8, 2010
Contact: Kristina Johnson
Offshore Drilling Operations to Move Forward with New Safety Regulations
Washington, D.C. - Today, The Obama administration unveiled new safety regulations for offshore drilling in water less than 500 feet deep, signaling that drilling will now move forward after a temporary ban following the BP Disaster.
In the wake of the disaster, the oil industry and allies like Governor Bobby Jindal and Senator David Vitter have been using local concerns about jobs in an effort to push for more drilling in the devastated region.
Statement of Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune
It's encouraging to see the Obama administration taking steps to improve safety regulations for offshore drilling. Federal oversight of the oil industry has been far from adequate. Lax regulations have contributed to accidents and spills we see regularly wherever there is offshore drilling.
Improving safety regulations simply puts a band aid on the wound. As long as there is offshore drilling, there will be oil spills. We need to address the root cause of the problem.
BP's carelessness has dealt a serious blow to the Gulf Coast's economy, leaving thousands of fishermen and tourism staff out of work. Now, the oil industry and its allies would like to declare the area a dead zone in which the only jobs to be had are from more oil drilling.
Fishing and shrimping boats are now all either docked or in service to BP to clean up its mess. The spill has affected an estimated 13,000 commercial licensed fishermen in Louisiana, not including deckhands and crew, according to the Louisiana State Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.
The Gulf Coast needs to recover the billions of dollars lost as the result of this disaster. BP should be held fully accountable for those dollars. But the Gulf also needs to recover its way of life and the birds, dolphins, and beaches that make the area special.
Expanded drilling will serve as a final nail in the coffin for this region. The oil industry would love to see the Gulf declared a dead zone in which they no longer need to worry about wildlife and clean water, and in which residents are left with no choice but to work on drilling rigs.
We can't let BP and the oil industry hold the Gulf Coast hostage anymore.