Bipartisan members of the Gulf Coast Congressional delegation will hold a press conference to call for an end to the current moratorium on new deepwater drilling. Congressional members are unified in their support for responsible offshore drilling and continued development of our natural resources. Members of the Gulf Coast delegation will be meeting with Interior Secretary Salazar on Wednesday of this week to discuss the current moratorium and its impact on our region.
Congressman Poe (R-TX-02) was joined today by Congressman Charlie Melancon (D-LA-03), Rep. Charles Boustany (LA-07), Rep. Gregg Harper (MS-03), Rep. Joe Barton (TX-06), Rep. Michael Burgess (TX-26), Rep. John Carter (TX-31), Rep. Michael Conaway (TX-11), Rep. John Culberson (TX-07), Rep. Ralph Hall (TX-04), Rep. Randy Neugebauer (TX-19), Rep. Pete Olson (TX-22), Rep. Rodney Alexander (LA-05), Rep. Bill Cassidy (LA-06), Rep. John Fleming (LA-04) and Rep. Steve Scalise (LA-01).
Congressman Ted Poe issued the following statement:
We cannot as a nation afford to let Washington shut down our offshore energy development. Reforms must be made to ensure the safest working and environmental standards are met, but we cannot overlook the hundreds of other companies that have safely drilled offshore for the last three decades.
When a plane crashes we dont shut down the airline industry for six months. We cannot afford to shut down our offshore drilling industry either.
17 percent of our domestic oil supply comes from Deepwater offshore drilling in the Gulf and 5 percent of our domestic natural gas supply. This gives a whole new meaning to freezing to death in the dark.
In just the first six months, 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.
We will lose the offshore industry the same way we lost our domestic manufacturing industries in the 70s and 80s. Once its gone, it never comes back.
In addition, in an effort to immediately help Gulf Coast states Congressman Poe announced that he will file legislation to allow states to receive a 50-50 share in the lease revenues generated from offshore drilling in shallow water regions and deepwater regions once the moratorium is lifted.
Members of the Gulf Coast delegation expressed their unified concerns. The six-month moratorium that the Department of the Interior has put on deep water drilling in the Gulf has the potential for significant economic damage to the Gulf Coast and throughout the United States. If this drilling moratorium continues for an extended period of time, analysts predict that well over 20,000 existing and potential new jobs will be lost in the Gulf Coast region in the first six months alone.
Many offshore drilling companies and suppliers will not be able to survive this six-month period and will either go out of business or move their employees and assets abroad, further crippling Americas energy industry. The second highest single source of federal revenue each year comes from offshore drilling at $6 billion per year.
Additionally, reliance on foreign oil puts Americas national security at risk. If it is not coming from off the coast of our shores where we can responsibly oversee the production, it is going to come from abroad, often from the Middle East and other volatile areas of the world.