Deepwater Horizon oil spill was a tragedy for eleven families, and an
environmental disaster for the entire Gulf Coast region. The impacts
are far-reaching, affecting industries across the spectrum. Make no
mistake, BP has the ultimate responsibility to clean up the disaster in
the Gulf and needs to make things right with those affected by this
spill. I fully support all efforts to ensure they fairly compensate
the industries and region that have been impacted by this disaster.
President Obama’s decision to push to establish a $20 billion escrow account, funded by BP is the right decision. BP’s agreement to put $20 billion in such account is a good first step. While BP has pledged to pay for clean up and recovery costs, that pledge needed to be made real and legally binding. As we saw during and after the Exxon Valdez disaster, it’s very easy for oil companies to make pledges to pay for clean up and recovery and later to not follow through on promises and challenge claims in the courts. We must make sure that doesn’t happen here, and that taxpayers do not wind up with the bill for the catastrophe BP’s operations have caused. The agreement announced today is a good first step toward that end.
Last month when President Obama imposed a six-month moratorium on deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, his decision threatened the livelihood of tens of thousands of workers in the Gulf States. Today, CEA is pleased to see strong bipartisan support on Capitol Hill to lift the six-month offshore drilling moratorium including, the introduction of critical legislation in the House and Senate to this effect.
Author Michael Kinsley once observed that “a gaffe is
when a politician tells the truth.” The Republican Leader, Mr. Boehner,
proved this point the other day when he was asked point blank whether he agrees
with the Chamber of Commerce that the government should pitch in to pay for
BP’s oil spill.
The horrific crisis and tragedy in the Gulf must be a wake-up call to America that we must break our addiction to fossil fuel and move with all deliberate haste to a renewable energy future or America simply will have no future. Energy independence is an economic necessity. We can create an entire economy based on green jobs. It's not only an environmental necessity, look at the crisis that we have in the Gulf, with the loss of life, and the destruction of an ecosystem that will take a lifetime to fix. It's a national security imperative. We have to break from our reliance on the Saudis, Venezuelans and the B.P.'s of the world and harness the sun, wind, geothermal, biomass. The state of Nevada can become the epicenter of renewable energy. We just need the will to do it. I yield back and ask my colleagues to please join me in a renewable energy future for this great country.
Last night, President Obama spoke eloquently about the challenges facing our country from the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Our thoughts and prayers, as an industry and as a nation, have been with our workers and their neighbors along the coast. But our focus has been to help BP and the government in their efforts to stop the spill, to clean up the oil, and--once the causes of the spill are known--prevent it from ever happening again.
Last week I introduced introduced legislation to make sure BP pays royalties on all of the oil from the Deepwater Horizon disaster. The Spilled Oil Royalty Collection Act, HR 5513, will ensure that BP pays royalties on every gallon of oil spilled without the administration having to determine whether BP was negligent or violating MMS regulations. Royalties on oil drilled at offshore locations are paid to Minerals Management Services (MMS) in an effort to compensate taxpayers for the use of publicly owned resources. Under the current regulations, lease holders like BP are only obligated to pay royalties on gallons of oil sold.
I am pleased that tonight, President Obama will finally speak directly to the American people about the crisis in the Gulf, who’ve been searching for hope and leadership for 57 days. People have watched as oil continues to spill into the Gulf and wonder why this crisis has not been fixed. They’ve been frustrated but patient, and they deserve accountability. Simply put, the American people want all of our resources, time and focus to be directed toward stopping the spill and cleaning up the mess. Period.
A week ago I was in Chalmette, Louisiana, for a field hearing on the BP Deepwater Horizon oil disaster. And we heard compelling testimony from people whose lives have been devastated, including two of the widows who lost their husbands on that explosion on the rig.