Tom Moskitis House Begins Series of OCS Hearings

The House Committee on Natural Resources began a series of oversight hearings designed to look at our current offshore drilling policy, and to determine where we may need to go next. This first hearing featured a panel of witnesses from environmental groups. Two additional hearings scheduled for later this month will feature witnesses from state governments and the oil and gas production industry.

Opening the hearing yesterday, Committee Chairman Nick Rahall (D-WV) told the environmentalists “I understand your desire to see the (oil and gas leasing) moratoria reinstated. However, we may be in a situation where the ship has already sailed.” Although he derided chants made at last year’s Republican National Convention to “drill, baby, drill,” Rahall stated that “the political reality may be that the moratoria, as we knew it, will not be reimposed.”

This did not sit well with the day’s two star witnesses, actor Ted Danson, a board member of conservationist group Oceana, and Philippe Cousteau, a board member of the Ocean Conservancy and grandson of famed ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau. They repeatedly spoke in opposition to ALL offshore oil and gas development, not just drilling in new areas, on the grounds that the products produced were fossil fuels that, when consumed, would increase the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which is absorbed by the earth’s oceans, which then become more acidic, resulting in the death of all life in the sea. What?  I don’t know about you but this seems like it may be more science fiction than scientific. They were fine with the development of alternative energy on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS), such as wind and harnessing tides and currents, so long as no environmental damage is done.

What do you think about all this? I think that with OPEC meeting next month to decide on steps to take to increase the price of oil, our country must aggressively develop all sources of energy, renewable, alternative and conventional. And this most emphatically means more exploration and production of clean natural gas from as much of the federal OCS as possible.

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