FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 22, 2010
Contact: Kristina Johnson
Judge Blocks 6-Month Moratorium on Offshore Drilling
Sierra Club to Join Obama Administration in Appealing Decision
New Orleans, LA - Today, a federal judge blocked a six-month moratorium on deepwater drilling put in place by President Obama following the BP disaster in the Gulf. On June 7, 2010, Hornbeck Offshore Services, a company that provides vessel support to offshore oil and gas drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, filed a lawsuit challenging the moratorium. Hornbeck Offshore Services, Bollinger Shipyard Companies, Bee Mar Deepwater Vessels Companies and Chouest Shore Side, Vessel, and Shipyard Companies joined the lawsuit against the Obama administration. The Sierra Club intervened on behalf of the government, along with other groups including the Florida Wildlife Federation. The groups are represented by Earthjustice.
The Sierra Club will join the Obama administration in appealing the judge's decision.
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 haven't even stopped the massive flow of oil yet, let alone begun to respond to the damage it has wrought. It's like there's been a car accident and we're talking about how to get the vehicle on the road again while the victim is still bleeding.
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.
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.