Responding to the epic BP oil disaster killing off the Gulf of Mexico, Rep. John Dingell (D-MI) has called for a suspension of all oil leasing and drilling in the United States. “I’ve been a supporter of offshore oil and drilling,” Dingell said in a May 27 hearing on the BP oil spill, “and I must say the oil companies are making this support increasingly difficult.” His concern that the environmental laws he helped write are not being obeyed by the oil industry or enforced by the government has made the senior-most Democrat on the House energy committee believe that it is necessary to “establish a complete moratorium on all leasing and drilling activity”:
Today I am forced to come to a difficult conclusion. We need to establish a complete moratorium on all leasing and drilling activity until it is established that all of it was done and is being done in full compliance with the environmental laws, and with full attention to safety, and to avoid the kind of disastrous spills were now seeing in the Gulf.
A long-time senior member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Dingell “either authored or was a major force” in enacting “the Endangered Species Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, the original Clean Water Act, the 1990 Clean Air Act, and the National Wildlife Refuge Administration Act.” At the same time, Dingell has also been a major advocate for the automotive and energy industries, opposing regulations for seat belts, catalytic converters, fuel economy, and global warming pollution.