Despite the massive devastation caused by BP’s oil gusher, a growing number of Republicans have called for an immediate increase in offshore drilling, opposing President Obama’s moratorium on new wells until an investigation of the Deepwater Horizon disaster is complete. Pennsylvania Republican Senate nominee Pat Toomey joined the club Friday, telling WHYY in Philadelphia that Obama went too far in stopping new drilling:
Republican Senate candidate Pat Toomey says the Gulf Coast oil spill is a “huge disaster,” but argues the United States shouldn’t shy away from offshore drilling. [...]
Going forward, Toomey wants to see more, and not less, domestic oil exploration.
“You know,” Toomey said, “we choose not to drill in the ANWAR, for instance. In a very obscure, remote part of Alaska that’s sitting on a huge amount of oil, and we don’t touch it. That increases our dependence on foreign oil. And I think that’s a mistake.”
In an interview, Toomey said President Obama might have gone too far in declaring a moratorium on offshore drilling in the wake of what’s being labeled the largest environmental disaster in American history.
The other Republicans calling for more drilling now hail from coastal states with economic interests in offshore drilling. Pennsylvania has no ocean coastline, but Toomey has a personal financial interest in drilling. The oil and gas industry has given Toomey nearly $50,000 for his Senate campaign this year, and he has taken over $96,000 from them over his entire career. Haliburton has been particularly generous to Toomey, giving him $2,500 in their post-Deepwater Horizon spending spree. Toomey was their top recipient of cash in May. Meanwhile, when Toomey was president of the hard-right Club For Growth, he said federal restrictions on offshore drilling “border on the criminal.” And while serving in the House, he consistently voted with the oil and gas industry.