Colorado Republican U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn and a bipartisan delegation of 40 introduced legislation yesterday that would lift the moratorium on deep-water oil drilling put in place by President Obama in the wake of the catastrophic and as-yet-unplugged British Petroleum spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The legislation would require the Department of the Interior to move forward on all “safe oil and gas production.”
The H.R. 5519 Gulf Coast Jobs Preservation Act would end the Mineral Management Service notice that halted deep-water operations for six months while the agency works to satisfy widespread safety concerns. The so-called “jobs preservation act” would require the interior department to ensure drilling companies comply with federal laws and identify methods to ensure safe drilling. The bill offers no other substantive details. By “jobs preservation” the lawmakers are referring to oil industry jobs and not the thousands or ultimately hundreds of thousands of jobs that may ultimately be lost as a result of the Gulf environmental catastrophe.
“Offshore drilling provides 30 percent of U.S. oil production and is the second-largest source of revenue to the federal government at $6 billion annually, and has a direct employment of 150,000 individuals,” Lamborn said in a release. “Just as you wouldn’t shut down the airline industry while a single plane crash is investigated, you don’t shut down the offshore drilling industry at this time.”
On Monday, Colorado Sen. Mark Udall said at a press conference that the moratorium on drilling was appropriate until the cause of the BP catastrophe can be determined and measures are put in place to prevent any similar future spill.