Congressman Ted Poe’s letter:
This week, members of the Gulf Coast delegation met with Interior Secretary Salazar to discuss the current deepwater drilling moratorium and its impact on our region. I personally delivered a letter signed by 21 Members of Congress urging the President to reconsider lifting the ban.
At a recent field hearing in St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana, Members of Congress heard from two widows whose husbands were killed on the Deepwater Horizon. Both women stated unequivocally that offshore drilling in the Gulf must continue.
Growing up on the Gulf Coast, I understand the role the energy industry plays in our lives and our economy. Offshore drilling is intertwined in all that we do. Folks in Washington are misinformed if they think this will only impact the workers on the rigs.
Tuesday night the President said that he would do everything he can to help the people of the Gulf Coast, yet he indicated that the ban will remain in effect. It appears to me that this administration has the same plans for offshore drilling as they do for NASA: giving up our future, and our jobs, to foreign countries. This will have devastating and long term effects on every aspect of our lives.
The federal response has only compounded this disaster. There is no reason we should halt drilling for six months. Never have we shut down an entire industry for the mistakes of one company. We cannot allow this accident to be the vehicle to kill jobs and make us more dependent on foreign oil.
The United States has the energy resources to meet our needs. It is inaccurate to claim that we have “run out of places to drill.” What we have run out of are places we are allowed to drill and if the ban continues we will run out of companies and workers to do it as well.
This week, I led a group of bipartisan members of the Gulf Coast Congressional delegation to call for an end to the current moratorium on new deepwater drilling. We cannot afford to let Washington shut down our offshore energy development. Reforms must be made to ensure the safest working and environmental standards are met, but we cannot overlook the hundreds of companies that have safely drilled offshore for the last 50 years.
Over 17 percent of our domestic oil supply comes from deepwater offshore drilling in the Gulf and 5 percent of our domestic natural gas supply. This gives a whole new meaning to freezing in the dark. We cannot lose the offshore industry the same way we lost our domestic manufacturing industries in the 70’s and 80’s. Once it’s gone, it never comes back.
In an effort to immediately help Gulf Coast states, I am working on filing legislation to allow states to receive a 50/50 share in the federal lease revenues generated from offshore drilling. This will include new wells drilling in shallow water regions currently not included in the ban and all new deepwater leases once the moratorium is lifted.
I will continue to do everything I can to lessen the impact this has on southeast Texas and fight to let our voices be heard. We are the ones that are bearing the brunt of this disaster, not the bureaucrats in Washington. The administration needs to listen to what the people of the Gulf Coast want.
God and Texas,
Member of Congress