Courtesy of EnviroKnow, here’s a statement by Senator Webb’s office about the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. I agree with this to a large extent, except for two points I’d make: 1) let’s face it, offshore oil drilling is inherently risky, as even one accident like the current one can be disastrous; and 2) given this country’s relatively small oil reserves and relatively high consumption, the belief that increased U.S. offshore oil drilling will ever constitute a significant component of any “energy independence” strategy for the our country is highly unlikely. With that, here’s the statement from Sen. Webb’s office.
Senator Webb has said consistently that a comprehensive approach is necessary in order to address our nation’s energy needs. Senator Webb believes we must insist on the highest standards of safety and environmental protection, but that we cannot retreat from the goal of energy independence.
Senator Webb has always maintained that offshore drilling be conducted under stringent conditions that safeguard platform workers, the environmentally sensitive coastal region and our nation’s marine resources.
While all of the facts are not in, this high standard plainly was not met with respect to the current disaster. Neither British Petroleum nor our federal regulators have adopted provisions for the remote shut-off of oil valves when explosions or other disasters occur. Brazil, Norway and other countries have maintained such standards since the early 90’s. The United States-and any country involved in exploration off of our coastlines-should as well. The Senator will urge that these measures be adopted in the review of offshore programs that the President has wisely called for.
Before commencing further drilling projects, Senator Webb believes the facts must be ascertained to determine how the disaster off the Gulf Coast could have been prevented-and whether it was due to the lack of technology or the failure to apply available technology. He believes an examination is also in order as to whether appropriate laws and regulations are on the books.
UPDATE #1: Glenn Nye’s office chimes in.
Congressman Nye believes that offshore drilling must be done in an environmentally safe and responsible way that does not threaten Virginia’s tourism or fishing industries. He feels that it is appropriate to delay any drilling off the coast of Virginia until the investigation of the gulf disaster is complete so we can ensure the same thing won’t happen here
UPDATE #2: Mark Warner says it is “‘appropriate’ for Obama to delay offshore projects until safeguards are in place to prevent rig explosions like the one that caused the gulf spill.”
UPDATE #3: I strongly agree with this letter by enviro groups, urging Congress “to oppose efforts to expand offshore oil and gas exploration and drilling off of our coasts” in light of the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster.