Rep. George Miller (D-CA), the former chairman of the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee, is drafting legislation to prohibit the oil disaster giant BP from drilling in the outer continental shelf for the next five to seven years. In a hearing on Wednesday with Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Michael Bromwich, the director of the new Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, Miller cited BP’s pattern of “dangerous, lethal behavior” in its refineries, pipelines, and drilling rigs in the United States. He noted that BP is expanding its offshore drilling not only into the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico but also into pristine Alaska seas:
I’m sure they have the technical capabilities to do it. What I’m concerned about is the ethics of this company and how they have performed in the past, to measure their performance in the future. I think they should be debarred from participating in the outer continental shelf for five or seven years. It will have little or no impact on the supply of fossil fuels to this country.
“At some point, the American people are entitled to a standard,” Miller said. His legislation “would block the Interior secretary from issuing offshore leases to a company that is determined to be a danger to workers and natural resources based on a review of records for all subsidiaries and partnerships.”
House Republicans have come to the defense of BP and bashed Miller’s proposal: “Of course, this legislation would kill jobs and lower the supply of energy produced in the U.S. as companies are barred from developing American energy resources.”