CONGRESSWOMAN SHEILA JACKSON LEE JOINS SECRETARY SALAZAR TO DISCUSS NEW SYSTEM OF DEEP WATER MARINE OIL WELL CONTAINMENT
Yesterday, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), ranking member of the House Homeland Security Transportation Security Subcommittee and the author of the REMEDIES Act of 2010 and 2011 dealing with the BP oil spill, joined the Department of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, Michael Bromwich, the head of the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, and leaders of the oil and gas industry, to speak on the continuing development of new oil spill containment systems.
“I applaud the efforts of Secretary Salazar, Mr. Bromwich, and the oil and gas community for their steady efforts on this project. Last year, we saw the tragic and devastating effects of the oil spill on our Nation’s gulf coast. However, the development of this technology will make future response times quicker and more efficient. It is my hope that with the progress we have seen today with the marine well containment program, that deep water drilling will resume in the Gulf of Mexico once this technology is fully implemented. However, the industry and the federal government must work with urgency because it is time to lift the moratorium in a manner that is safe and secure, so that thousands of much needed energy jobs can be brought back to our communities. The Department of the Interior will require a case by case assessment as permits are given, and each application will have to show a containment and recovery plan,” commented Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee. “As we have seen the effects of the situations in the Middle East and Libya, America needs to work towards lowering its dependence on foreign oil and increase its domestic energy production. This is actually a national security issue. We need to strive for our Nation’s energy independence, and with the pending success of this public private partnership to move forward with the marine well containment program, soon we will see more energy jobs and decreased reliance on oil from unstable countries.”
During the midst of the terrible BP oil spill tragedy, a number of hearings were being held in the House of Representatives. Congresswoman Jackson Lee was invited to sit in on a hearing held in July 2010 in the House Energy and Commerce Committee that addressed the question of the BP oil spill. During that hearing, Congresswoman Jackson Lee posed a question to the five witnesses, the CEOs of: BP, Shell, Chevron, ConocoPhillips and Exxon Mobil. The Congresswoman Jackson asked about the idea to establish a $1 billion fund to develop new technology for a deep-water well containment and response system. All of the witnesses responded favorably to that suggestion.
In fact, shortly after the hearing, Congresswoman Jackson Lee wrote and introduced the REMEDIES Act of 2010 and included that provision in the bill. She has reintroduced that bill in the 112th Congress. Six month later this plan has been put in place to help control a deep water incident in the Gulf of Mexico.
These several companies will continue to lead the development of additional system components to expand the initial system’s capabilities, with completion of the expanded system set for 2012.
“The BP tragedy was so overwhelming that those of us from the Gulf Region knew that the industry had to make changes and take responsibility for their actions,” commented Congresswoman Jackson Lee. “In a hearing that I participated in the House Energy and Commerce Committee, where the CEOs of all the major energy companies were present, I raised the question whether they would invest $1 billion in a marine well containment system. They saw it as a viable option.”
“We needed them to take responsibility, to use their experience and expertise to quickly find a solution. Today they have launched that solution,” commented Congresswoman Jackson Lee. “Now it is important that they invest in employing local people, local small businesses and minority contractors in this project.”