Oceana, the largest international advocacy group working solely to protect the world’s oceans, voiced its disappointment in the U.S. House of Representatives today following the passage of H.R. 3408, which opens the Atlantic, Pacific, Eastern Gulf of Mexico and Alaska’s Arctic to offshore drilling. Under the guise of a transportation bill, another measure has passed that jeopardizes our oceans and coasts in order to pad the bottom lines of the oil and gas industry. Below is a statement in reaction to the bill’s passage from Oceana’s federal policy director Corry Westbrook:
“Big Oil’s grip on Congress has tightened to the point where even the traditionally bi-partisan and non-controversial transportation bill has become a vehicle for handouts to the oil and gas industry. Transportation infrastructure is fundamental to our country’s well-being, and it should not be tied to speculative and uncertain revenue streams from risky activities like drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS).
The transportation package costs more than $260 billion, yet the OCS drilling ‘pay-fors’ in this bill will bring in less than $2 billion over the course of 10 years. We would be fools to believe that this is a sincere effort to fund infrastructure. In fact, this language will accomplish little besides deepening our dependence on oil and gas, and polluting one of our most valuable resources: our oceans.”