October 12, 2010
Contact: Kristina Johnson
Obama to Lift Deepwater Drilling Moratorium
Sierra Club Calls for End to Oil Dependence
Washington, D.C. – Today, the Obama administration announced plans to lift a ban on deepwater drilling that was put in place following the BP oil disaster in the Gulf in April. The moratorium was scheduled to end on November 30, 2010.
Statement of Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune
Nearly six months after the BP disaster, the Gulf Coast is still reeling. Tourism and fishing jobs have been lost, and we can expect to see damage to wildlife and coastal ecosystems for years to come. The BP disaster was a wake up call, but our leaders keep hitting the snooze button.
Offshore drilling is an inherently dangerous business. It’s a relief to see the administration announce new, long overdue safety regulations prior to lifting the drilling ban. But these regulations still don’t bring the risk to an acceptable level. The only way to make sure we don’t see another drilling disaster is to end our dependence on oil. Rather than putting coastal communities in the Gulf, the Atlantic, and Alaska at risk for more oil spills, we should be expanding wind, solar, and efficiency measures and creating a 21st century transportation system.
Our leaders should focus on investments that will create clean energy jobs in oil-producing regions like the Gulf Coast.
President Obama has recently taken significant steps to break our oil addiction, like last week’s announcement raising fuel economy standards. Unfortunately, the oil industry and Republican leaders continue to stand in the way of measures that would help end our oil dependence. They blocked clean energy legislation in the Senate and now they are fighting against clean energy jobs.
This summer, we saw how much damage the oil industry is capable of. They were responsible for the millions of gallons of oil that gushed into the Gulf of Mexico, and they were equally responsible for holding up legislation that would have helped create clean energy jobs. The oil industry is now fighting harder than ever to choke clean energy investments.
Republican leaders have let the oil industry call the shots for too long, and this is where it’s gotten us: We’ve seen disaster after disaster. Our nation has begun to lag behind, continuing to rely on outdated fossil fuels when we should be a global leader in clean energy technology. Big Oil’s influence on Congress and our energy policy is out of control.