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Mr. Speaker, the moratorium on deepwater offshore drilling will prevent drilling in the Gulf of Mexico for the next 6 months or longer.
Why do we have the moratorium? What is the purpose?
When we have a plane crash, as disastrous as that might be, we don't close down the entire airline industry for 6 months--that wouldn't make sense--but now we want to close down the drilling offshore for 6 months.
What is the reason?
The 6-month moratorium on drilling will be another economic catastrophe for the United States. Six months is a long time in the drilling business. These wells can't start and stop overnight, and neither can the support industries.
Mr. Speaker, this chart right here shows the coasts of Texas and Louisiana, and on this chart, out in the Gulf of Mexico, there are about 4,000 offshore rigs. These 4,000 rigs will not be allowed to drill, based upon the administration's moratorium, for the next 6 months. All of these yellow dots represent a drilling rig that is offshore, and they go about 75 to 150 miles off the Texas-Louisiana coast, not counting those off of Mississippi and Alabama.
Some companies are already moving workers to Brazil and to the Middle East because of this absurdity of a moratorium. Texas and Louisiana will lose an estimated 20,000 to 30,000 jobs just in this industry, not counting all the related industries that are onshore. The people who supply those rigs--the food, the transportation, communications, goods and services--all of those jobs will be gone if these rigs are not allowed to drill. The longer the uncertainty continues here in America, the worse it will get, and there is no guarantee these jobs will ever come back. That is not only a threat to our economy. It is a threat to national security.
That means the United States will now import more oil from countries that don't like us--like the Middle East and Venezuela. Now China and Russia, two of our buddies, are going to drill off the coast of Cuba with Venezuela and Vietnam.
Isn't that a lovely experience?
The loss of our domestic source of oil in the Gulf of Mexico will make us further dependent on foreign oil and will increase energy costs to all Americans, and that will also increase tanker traffic bringing that oil into the Gulf of Mexico. There have been 16 large international oil spills of over 30 million gallons, and only three of those have been from offshore drilling rigs. The rest have been from oil tankers bringing oil from one place to another. So we need to put a proactive plan in place so we can better deal with accidents in the Gulf of Mexico.
It took 9 days for the administration to make remarks about the impact of the Deepwater explosion and for DHS to declare the spill of national significance. There was no clear chain of command for who was in control of the disaster. There doesn't seem to be any plan. There should have been a plan in place immediately to respond. That's the government's responsibility. Some say it was the Coast Guard's. Others say it was the EPA's. It is still somewhat of a mystery as to who was supposed to be in charge and who was supposed to be in control of the cleanup and of the containment when the explosion occurred.
It took 37 days to attempt the top-kill procedure. Why so long? We don't know the answer yet. The majority of the pollution is a result of the delay, not of the explosion. I repeat: The majority of the pollution is the result of the delay and not of the explosion itself.
Now government is overreacting to the aftermath and making the economic impact worse by prohibiting the drilling of these other 4,000 wells. The moratorium could end up being a worse economic problem than the accident itself. It's the second disaster now in the Gulf of Mexico.
The EPA was created in 1970 to address industrial pollution, and they have somewhat of a history of overreacting and overregulating. And the bottom line is they are driving and have driven American manufacturing jobs to other countries. We cannot allow this to happen again with offshore drilling.
As much as we need to use all alternative sources of energy, right now our economy runs on fossil fuels, and that's not going to really change anytime soon. So we either have to import more oil or we have to allow these rigs to drill.
America doesn't yet run on windmills and moonbeams. We need a plan for future disasters, to include who is in charge of stopping the leak, who is in charge of containment of the oil spill, and who is in charge of the cleanup. As of today, there does not seem to be a comprehensive plan to implement.
And that's just the way it is.
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