Gulf coast senators to Salazar: Let new shallow water drilling proceed

“[W]e  are very concerned that the moratorium is far too broad and unnecessarily covers shallow water drilling activities that have operated without major incident for over 50 years,” states the letter.

It’s signed by Sens. Mary LandrieuMary Loretta LandrieuA decade of making a difference: Senate Caucus on Foster Youth Congress needs to work to combat the poverty, abuse and neglect issues that children face Dems wrestle over how to vote on ‘Green New Deal’ MORE (D-La.), David VitterDavid Bruce VitterThe biggest political upsets of the decade Red-state governor races put both parties on edge Louisiana Republicans score big legislative wins MORE (R-La.), Thad CochranWilliam (Thad) Thad CochranBottom Line Mike Espy announces Mississippi Senate bid Biden has a lot at stake in first debate MORE (R-Miss.), Roger WickerRoger Frederick WickerThe Hill's Morning Report - Sanders repeats with NH primary win, but with narrower victory Senators press NCAA on compensation for college athletes Overnight Defense: Inside Trump's 4B Pentagon budget | Highlights include .4B for Space Force, preview of Air Force One paint job | Senate eyes Wednesday debate on Iran war powers | 109 US troops diagnosed with brain injuries from attack MORE (R-Miss.), Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsAlabama Senate contender hits Sessions in new ad: 'Hillary still ain't in jail' Barr back on the hot seat McCabe: 'I don't think I will ever be free of this president and his maniacal rage' MORE (R-Ala.), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), John CornynJohn CornynBooker, Cornyn introduce bill to fund school nutrition programs Three Senate primaries to watch on Super Tuesday Democrats seek to drive wedge between Trump, GOP on whistleblowers MORE (R-Texas), Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiThe Hill's Morning Report — AG Barr, GOP senators try to rein Trump in Overnight Defense: Senate votes to rein in Trump war powers on Iran | Pentagon shifting .8B to border wall | US, Taliban negotiate seven-day 'reduction in violence' Ocasio-Cortez blasts Trump as 'corrupt' for blocking Global Entry for New Yorkers MORE (R-Alaska) and Mark BegichMark Peter BegichAlaska political mess has legislators divided over meeting place Former GOP chairman Royce joins lobbying shop Lobbying world MORE (D-Alaska).

They say that continuing the moratorium on shallow water projects could cost the Gulf Coast upwards of 5,000 jobs and substantial lost revenue.

The senators’ letter argues that shallow water wells have greatly different physical characteristics than deepwater projects.

“For example, shallow water facilities typically employ ‘blow-out preventers’ (BOPs) above the surface of the water.  These surface BOPs are accessible for constant inspection, maintenance and repair, and, in emergencies, can be controlled either remotely or by physical manipulation,” they write.

The blowout preventer on BP’s deepwater well – which is supposed to be a failsafe device to prevent uncontrolled spills – did not deploy properly.

The letter also complains that the moratorium is endangering planned exploratory drilling off Alaska’s coast this summer. Shell Oil hopes to begin drilling in Arctic waters off the state’s northern coast, but those plans are under fire from environmentalists and some Democrats.