Blunt, Carnahan split on offshore drilling

Candidates in the battle to replace retiring Missouri Sen. Kit Bond (R) hold opposite views on whether the Obama administration should lift the six-month ban on deepwater oil-and-gas drilling imposed after the BP oil spill began.

The Associated Press asked Rep. Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntSenate Republicans muscle through rules for Trump trial McConnell keeps press in check as impeachment trial starts What to watch for as Senate organizes impeachment on day one MORE (R-Mo.) and Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan (D) whether they back the moratorium, and whether additional federal oversight of offshore drilling is needed.


Carnahan backs the drilling ban. “We have to have real regulations and real regulators who can make sure that this drilling is done in a safe and responsible way, because we've seen the devastating economic impact of what happens when they are just left to their own devices to say, 'Oh yeah, yeah, we're being safe here,’” she told AP.

Blunt, like many Republicans and Gulf Coast lawmakers from both parties, opposes the freeze.

“Eliminating thousands of American jobs and putting a moratorium on an area that almost 25 percent of our domestic oil supply comes from was a huge mistake,” he told the news service.

But he also noted that “obviously some additional oversight is needed,” and cited legislation he sponsored to improve spill response technology.

The divide comes as the Obama administration is mulling whether to ease the ban before its scheduled expiration Nov. 30.

White House and Interior Department officials say they might lift the ban early if they are confident that recently imposed requirements will ensure drilling can proceed safely.

Blunt and Carnahan also split on whether to continue tax breaks for oil-and-gas producers, which the White House has called for eliminating. 

“We've always had tax policies that encourage the development of American energy at all levels, and I think we should continue to,” Blunt said, while Carnahan counters that “We can eliminate tax breaks and subsidies to the big oil companies – they're doing very well on their own.”

Blunt is leading in several recent polls.