As BP’s massive oil disaster in the Gulf continues to devastate the ecosystem and economy of the region, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) has a novel proposal: expanding oil drilling. Roll Call reports that, yesterday, Boehner said the “tragedy should remind us that America needs…[the] Republicans'” pro-drilling energy plan:
House Republican leaders are once again sounding the drumbeat for passage of their sidelined pro-drilling energy reform package, even as state and federal officials scramble to stem a massive Gulf oil spill.
“This tragedy should remind us that America needs a real, comprehensive energy plan, like Republicans’ ‘all-of-the-above’ strategy,” House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Monday in a statement.
The GOP proposal, which was first rolled out in the summer of 2008 and has made multiple appearances since then, would, among other things, open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for oil exploration and lift the moratoriums on drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf.
Meanwhile, Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), “perhaps the oil industry’s best friend in the Democratic Party,” is using the tragedy to call for “accelerated” oil revenue sharing from the federal government and to demand that we “not…retreat” from further drilling:
Despite the threat to her state — the second-largest U.S. seafood producer — Landrieu has repeatedly called on colleagues not to “react with fear…not to retreat” from plans for more drilling, once the BP investigation is complete.
She has drawn parallels to the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant accident that contributed to freezing the development of new nuclear power plants for decades.
“Our country needs this oil, there is no question about that,” Landrieu said May 2 in an interview with WWL-TV in New Orleans. “We have to produce this oil at home unless we want to be completely reliant. We’ve got to investigate, fine, clean up and do the research necessary to make sure this will never happen again. We have to continue to go forward.”
Several dozen environmentalist groups, like the Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council, and Greenpeace, wrote to senators this morning in opposition to expanding offshore drilling. “Expanding exploration and drilling into previously protected and remote areas is unacceptable when it is clear that we are not capable of responding to oil spills in a timely manner,” the groups write. MoveOn is launching an ad campaign calling on President Obama to reinstate the ban on new offshore drilling.