The U.S. House of Representatives today passed the second in a series of three fast-track drilling bills that imposes arbitrarily rushed permitting deadlines that would force the Secretary of the Interior to approve or deny drilling permits within 30 days, and automatically approve within 60 days.
H.R. 1229, ironically called “Putting the Gulf of Mexico Back to Work,” eliminates important safety and environmental considerations and gives experts far too little time to adequately evaluate the safety and environmental implications of drilling – exactly the type of reckless protocol that contributed to the disastrous BP Deepwater Horizon explosion.
Rodger Schlickeisen, president and CEO of Defenders of Wildlife said, “This bill should more accurately be called, ‘Pandering to Big Oil Interests at the Expense of Coastal Economies and the Environment.’ By fast-tracking the important review process, the bill puts at risk the very fishermen, restaurant and hotel owners, and coastal communities, wildlife and habitat still reeling from the BP Deepwater Horizon oil disaster.
“Instead of lowering the bar for Big Oil, Congress should be working to safeguard those jobs and the healthy environment on which they depend.
“Instead of lowering the bar for Big Oil, Congress should be working to safeguard those jobs and the healthy environment on which they depend. Congress should pass legislation that ensures safer operations in any water depth, provides better spill response, lifts the existing liability cap and secures funding for restoration efforts in the Gulf.”
A vote on the last bill of this reckless drilling suite is expected this week. H.R. 1231 requires the administration to open up coastal and Arctic offshore drilling areas regardless of economic or environmental consequences.