FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 21, 2010
Contact: Kristina Johnson
BP Disaster Commission Says Early End to Drilling Ban Unlikely
Panel Will Focus on Improving Safety
Washington, D.C. - The commission appointed by President Obama to investigate the BP disaster in the Gulf won't likely recommend lifting a ban on deepwater drilling, The New York Times reports. William K. Reilly, co-chair of the bipartisan panel, said lifting the moratorium would require fundamental changes to the industry and government oversight that would be difficult to achieve over the next six months.
Reilly went on to say that the panel would focus on improving safety for drilling operations, not reforming energy policy.
Statement of Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune
Keeping a ban on deepwater drilling in place is absolutely essential. To resume drilling as the disaster in the Gulf continues to unfold would be a slap in the face to the communities that have been hit hard by this tragedy. The oil industry's call to lift the ban on drilling now is one of the worst ideas ever proposed. We're pleased to see the panel indicate that the moratorium will be kept in place.
We haven't even stopped the massive flow of oil yet, let alone begun to respond to the damage it has wrought. It's like our house is engulfed in flames, and instead of putting the fire out, we're talking about how to get more kindling.
To open more drilling now would be to invite a second disaster of the same magnitude, or a third. The Gulf Coast can't handle that risk.
It's encouraging to see this panel commit to finding the causes of the disaster and reforming oversight of the oil industry. However, we can't fully address the cause of the disaster without dealing with the outdated energy policy that made it possible.
Better regulation and oversight are essential, but these measures only address the symptoms of the problem. If we truly want to ensure that we never see a disaster like this again, we need to address the root cause. The best way to prevent another disaster like this one is to switch to a clean energy economy. The oil industry has been running the show for too long, pushing to drill more of our coasts while standing in the way of clean energy. It's time to embrace the clean energy solutions that will end our dependence on oil and infuse new life into our economy.
BP's carelessness has dealt a serious blow to the Gulf Coast's economy, leaving thousands in the fishing and tourism industries out of work. 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.
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.
This disaster should be a wake up call. We can't return to business as usual and face another disaster like this. It's time to stand up to the oil industry and embrace the clean energy solutions that will create good, lasting jobs while keeping our fresh air, drinking water, and oceans intact. We need President Obama's leadership to deliver a plan to end our dependence on oil over the next twenty years.