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Gulf Coast lawmakers to Obama: Drill, baby, drill

(Video by Andrew Mach).

By Mary Ann Akers
As the BP oil spill disaster waded into its eighth week with untold billions of dollars worth of ecological and economic damage and no end in sight, a group of Gulf Coast lawmakers on Capitol Hill made an urgent appeal for more offshore drilling.

"If an airplane crashes in the United States -- which would be horrible, people would die -- we don't close down all the airlines in the United States for six months," said Rep. Ted Poe (R-Tex.), referring to the Obama administration's temporary moratorium on deep-water drilling for oil and gas in the Gulf of Mexico.

"We don't do that in any other disaster, but yet when it came to the issue of one rig causing problems and a disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, the government has seen fit in its way to shut down for six months all of those rigs," added Poe.

The six-month drilling ban, they argued, is more costly than the damage from the spill itself.

"This drilling moratorium is the equivalent of killing the patient," Rep. Joe Barton (R-Tex.) said.

One of two Democrats at the news conference, Rep. Charlie Melancon of Texas, argued that the drilling ban "would result in thousands of workers laid off and would cripple our state's economy. The last thing we need is a moratorium."

On Tuesday morning, some reporters questioned the authenticity of a listing posted on the House news alert system announcing: "House Republicans hold news conf to advocate for more offshore drilling." At first blush, it looked like something out of The Onion satire newspaper.

"It isn't a joke," Melancon said later, explaining that the drilling ban could cost tens of thousands of jobs -- maybe more (though he couldn't estimate exactly how many) -- in his state.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office released a "fact sheet" to reporters noting that Republicans were "incredibly" holding a news conference to "demand MORE offshore drilling when oil is still spilling into the Gulf and we don't yet know how to improve the safety of offshore drilling."

House Republican leaders have avoided specifically mentioning offshore drilling, instead calling for an "all of the above" energy strategy that includes what Minority Leader John Boehner's spokesman calls "more environmentally responsible American energy production, a bigger focus on nuclear, alternative, and renewable sources of energy, and more conservation, as well."

At the news conference, Gulf Coast lawmakers invoked both science and God as they defended their drilling position and called on President Obama to lift the moratorium.

"This is not an act of God," Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) said of the oil rig explosion. "Statistically, tankers are three times more likely to cause a spill than a drill."

"This moratorium is based on unfounded science," said Rep. Charles Boustany (R-La.). "It is not really based on any knowledge of technology and facts on the ground, and it's hugely detrimental, in every sense, to Louisiana's economy, the Gulf Coast's economy, and the economy of the United States."

By Mary Ann Akers  |  June 15, 2010; 6:50 PM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency  
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Comments

Fools, baby fools.

Just as you don't ground all aircraft when one crashes. You do ground those of a certain type when more then one suffers the same catatrosphic failure, once the problem is corrected you put them back in the air.

Right now we've had a catastrophic failure of a blowout preventer which according to the oil companies was not supposed to happen. Until that problem is solved only a fool would continue drilling.

Because of the volume of the leak we cannot continue drilling until a blowout preventer can be devised that will not fail. We simply can't permit another disaster of this magnitude. Especially when the first one could have been prevented.

Posted by: reiley | June 16, 2010 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Here's a thought: As part of their penalty or compensation (insert whatever term you want), BP pays the US in oil - LOTS of it. Kinda kills several of the proverbial birds with one stone doesn't it?

Posted by: LieToMe | June 16, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

He has to lift the moratorium . It is one of the worst decisions he has ever made. He is using it as a political weapon to try to force cap and trade,and this is despicable, because he is destroying our economy, causing thousands of lost jobs, and losing those rigs for a decade. He is showing no common sense, no leadership, and no caring for the USA not to be dependent on foreign oil. Besides Healthcare this is one of the worst things he has done. Also, have you seen who he has chosen for his "commission"? National Geographic, and environmental professors. Not one person who really knows anything about oil. Everytime he does not want to be held responsible for actually making a decision he appoints a commission. He has no leadership.

Posted by: joanz3 | June 16, 2010 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Typical knee jerk reaction; throw out the baby with the bathwater. Had the feds been doing their jobs in the first place, they might not have granted a permit for BP's shoddy corner cutting operations. Not all drilling operations are unsafe; most are safe. BP, because of it's ...yes, greed...is culpable and liable for damages they caused. That said, deepwater drilling was necessary because the environmetalist lobbying of Congress has resulted in fewer options. Other companies are watching this very closely and I'm sure they are not ready to suffer the same fate as BP, discouraging them from less than optimum efforts to ensure a safe and above board approach to their operations. It's just nonsense to think that we can continue to be reliant on countries that despise us for energy resources when we have plenty here. If we trust other countries to do it safely, why do we not trust our own people? Do people actually believe that we can rely on such unreliable things as wind power, solar power and biofuels to meet all our needs, and to do it by tomorrow? This is simply another opportunity for the greenies to push a punishing agenda onto an already suffering economy.

Posted by: Lilycat1 | June 16, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Dear Sirs,
Big Oil drilled at the US Naval Oil Reserve at Teapot Dome.
How was that in the national interest?
Clifford Spencer

Posted by: yankeefan1925 | June 16, 2010 11:01 AM | Report abuse

As to the Louisiana Congressmen. There are major risks associated with oil drilling. If Louisiana wants to continue drilling and make a deal with the devil, they should pick up the tab if there is yet another oil spill. If they want to realize the spoils of drilling they should set up a fund to cover the cost of another clean up.

What would the price of a gallon of gas have to be to cover the cost of another oil spill? Would oil drilling still be cost effective if those costs were factored in?

The financial sector also demanded that they be allowed to play their risky games. They were blinded by the enormous revenues. When the house of cards collapsed, they turned to the taxpayers to bail them out.

If Louisiana wants to go on taking the risk and taking in the revenues, are they also able and willing to pay for the damages if the bet fails? Are you willing to pay the costs?

I hope the more sensible citizens of Louisiana speak up and make it clear that as they stand in oil up to their ankles, the time has come to begin to get over their dependency on oil.

Kick the habit!

Posted by: bewildered1 | June 16, 2010 10:41 AM | Report abuse

This "logic" from the GOP is amazing: "This moratorium is based onunfounded science," said Rep. Charles Boustany (R-La.). "It is not really based on any knowledge of technology and facts on the ground.. " THE FACTS ARE IN THE WATER YPOU Arse! 15,000 gallons per day with no end in sight is not evidence? Keep it up GOP jerkwads, your true colers are showing.

Posted by: gregp1 | June 15, 2010 9:46 PM | Report abuse

It's this kind of GREED that got us in this mess. Some people never learn. "Spill, baby SPILL !"

Posted by: thomasmc1957 | June 15, 2010 8:07 PM | Report abuse

It's this kind of GREED that got us in this mess. Some people never learn. "Spill, baby SPILL !"

Posted by: thomasmc1957 | June 15, 2010 8:06 PM | Report abuse

One plane crash isn't an ecological disaster but I am sure if we had uncontrolled planes crashing and we couldn't stop them, we'd shut down the airlines then.

What a stupid comparison..

Posted by: soapm | June 15, 2010 7:55 PM | Report abuse

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