The House of Representatives succumbed to the pressure of the oil and gas industry yesterday.
The CLEAR Act was intended to improve oil spill response and worker safety, provide funding for ocean conservation and more, but it took a turn for the worse when an amendment offered by Rep. Charlie Melancon, (D-LA) passed.
The amendment overturns President Obama’s deepwater drilling moratorium as long as certain standards are met.
Oceana is disappointed that the House took such a big step backwards when it was poised to make some real changes. After the well blowout in the Gulf, President Obama declared a moratorium to allow for adequate review by government agencies and a Presidentially-appointed Commission to find out why this disaster happened and how to prevent such tragedy from occurring in the future.
The initial moratorium was a common sense step for the President to take while the review took place. The House decided yesterday that there is no need to wait for an investigation into the accident to proceed with deepwater drilling.
Offshore drilling, including deepwater drilling, is extremely risky business, and the proof is in the Gulf. The leaking well has been capped, but not permanently sealed. The clean-up, restoration and recovery of the Gulf of Mexico will continue for years to come.
This shortsighted amendment has no place in a bill that was intended to respond to the oil spill.
Anna Gowan is a policy fellow at Oceana.