Congressman Landry’s Opening Statement at Oil Spill Commission Oversight Hearing
WASHINGTON, DC – House Natural Resources Committee Member Jeff Landry (LA-03) issued the following opening statement at today’s Full Committee Oversight Hearing on The Final Report from the President's National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling:
“Thank you, Chairman Hastings, for calling this hearing and for starting this Congress off on the right foot with responsible and meaningful oversight. I can think of no better way to start a new tradition of oversight than reviewing the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Commission Report.
Many thanks to the Chairman for also giving me time to express the views of many of my constituents who have not had an opportunity to make known their grievances with the recommendations of the Commission.
I would also like to thank Senator Bob Graham and the Honorable William Reilly for coming before this committee to answer, what I believe will be tough but fair and very important questions.
Let me state that the tragic accident of April 20, 2010 cannot be ignored nor minimized. This disaster killed eleven workers and generated one of the largest oil spills in United States history. Many Louisianans were affected by the explosion on the Gulf and the subsequent waves of oil that blanketed our coastline.
While this accident cannot be ignored, it can also not be employed as justification for debasing the entire offshore drilling industry.
My first priority is always the safety and economic well-being of my constituents in Coastal Louisiana. After analyzing and evaluating the Commission’s broad range of recommendations, I have some concerns that I would like for our witnesses to address today.
First, I would like to express my concerns with the Commission’s recommendation of continued overlapping of new and existing regulatory agencies within the Department of Interior. I believe that more agencies at the Department of Interior and at the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) will ultimately create more red tape without improving human or environmental safety.
Moreover, the proposed regulations will delay offshore oil production and will prolong Louisiana’s high unemployment rate. Thus, the Commission’s recommendations are diametrically opposed to the Administration’s own stated goals of reducing unemployment and lessening our dependence on foreign oil.
Furthermore, I am disappointed that the Commission does not address the economic and labor impacts of actually implementing all the Commission’s recommendations.
A scant eight days ago, President Obama signed an Executive Order stating that government regulations should ‘take into account benefits and costs’ and ‘further economic growth, innovation, competitiveness and job creation.’ Again, the Commission’s report runs directly counter to the Administration’s own stated goals.
Specifically, I am frustrated that the Commission failed to address the economic factors of the President’s offshore drilling moratorium – including the number of lost jobs, wages and oil revenue to the United States Treasury. The moratorium has already reduced United States oil production and has cost numerous Louisiana jobs. I believe these facts needed to be fully addressed in the report.
Finally, I believe we need to make sure that effective, efficient reforms are made to improve safety while still allowing drilling to be conducted in the Gulf of Mexico. Rest assured, I will continue to work with my fellow like-minded colleagues on the Natural Resources Committee to create and keep jobs in the offshore energy sector.”