Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) ramped up pressure on Thursday for the Obama
administration to shorten and lift its moratorium on offshore drilling.
Landrieu, whose home state has bore the brunt of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill close to the Louisiana coast, said that the administration's six-month ban on drilling could only exacerbate the economic damage to the region from the spill.
"This is a conundrum for us — a very difficult situation," Landrieu said during an appearance on ABC's "Good Morning America."
President Barack Obama issued the moratorium on deepwater drilling after the explosion on a BP-leased rig 52 days ago that triggered an underwater leak from a ruptured well, which has not yet been stemmed.
Landrieu said that ban had been "slapped on without much economic analysis," and should be lifted.
The senator said that a protracted ban on drilling could leave many Louisianans who work in the industry out of work, as the spill threatens other people in the state who make their livings in commercial fishing.
"The economic analysis shows that it may be more detrimental by driving out offshore drilling from our shores," she said. "We have to make sure these rigs are safe. But it can be done."
The president issued the moratorium on new drilling in the immediate aftermath of the spill, until an investigation into the causes and effects of the current spill could be conducted. Obama has said he looks forward to lifting the moratorium as soon as possible, if reports warrant such a thing.
And while Landrieu joined many other Republicans in calling several weeks ago to lift the ban on shallow-water drilling, Landrieu said she'd keep the pressure on the administration and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to lift and shorten all of the restrictions on new drilling.
"We just need to keep the pressure on him to get the moratoria shortened," she said.