Rep. Charlie Melancon (D-LA), whose district comprises the entire Louisiana coastline, today admitted that critics of the offshore drilling industry might have a point. Melancon was elected in 2004 with $34,800 in oil money, and has racked up a total of $242,700, including $7,500 from BP and $7,000 from Halliburton in his brief stint in Congress. Melancon has returned the favor, praising big oil as “a clean industry, a good industry,” voting for drilling in Alaska‘s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and supporting the “Drill Baby Drill” campaign to end the moratorium on offshore drilling on other parts of America’s coastline. At today’s House hearing investigating the BP-Halliburton oil disaster that threatens to turn his entire district into a toxic wasteland, Melancon thanked his colleagues for not saying “I told you so”:
I have been a pro-oil-and-gas person here, and I want to thank my colleagues on both sides of the aisle that have refrained from saying “I told you so,” because I have been a defender of offshore drilling.
Melancon went on to say that while he “can’t with a good heart encourage the continuation of deepwater” drilling until changes are made, he thinks the record for shallow offshore drilling is “very good.” Ironically, his fellow Lousiana Democrat Sen. Mary Landrieu made sure to point out that the epic Ixtoc I blowout in 1979 and last year’s catastrophic Montara oil blowout in Australia took place in shallow water in yesterday’s hearings.