Rep. Peterson just doesn’t get it. We can’t drill our way to energy independence. Peterson’s amendment will reverse a long standing Congressional moratorium that has always enjoyed strong bi-partisan, bi-cameral support. This Congressional moratorium has effectively protected coastal areas from new oil and gas drilling on the West Coast, the entire East Coast, and the Eastern Gulf of Mexico for 25 years.

Last year I successfully led the effort to protect the bipartisan moratorium on new offshore drilling by defeating Rep. Peterson's attempts to remove the protections from the Fiscal Year 2006 Interior Appropriations bill. Earlier this year I sent a letter, cosigned by 114 of my House colleagues, to the Appropriations Committee urging them to maintain these protections against off shore oil and gas drilling. It’s a shame that the Appropriations Committee is wasting time pursuing another failed energy policy that won’t solve our nation’s energy needs and has been repeatedly and resoundingly been rejected by the House and the American public.

Unfortunately, Rep. Peterson’s renewed proposal to allow new oil and gas drilling off of our economically and environmentally priceless coastline is as misguided as it was last year. So called "gas only" drilling has been dismissed by the Administration and even the oil industry as a fool’s errand that is risky and not appealing to producers. To be perfectly clear drilling for gas means drilling for oil. To pretend otherwise is just folly. I will fight this terrible proposal and work with my colleagues to continue to protect the ban on new oil and gas drilling off of our coasts.