House Passes Bill That Would Rush Oil Drilling Permits

Could lead to catastrophic oil spills, much like the BP disaster


Jessica Ennis, Earthjustice, (202) 667-4500, ext. 202


Raviya Ismail, Earthjustice, (202) 667-4500, ext. 221

By a vote of 263-163 the House of Representatives passed a bill that would rush deadlines for approving oil drilling permits and undermine judicial review of drilling decisions.

Sponsored by Doc Hastings (R-WA), H.R. 1229 requires the Department of Interior to decide whether to approve a drilling permit within 30 days after receiving an application and allows only two 15-day extensions of this deadline. The bill also seeks to undermine judicial review.

The following statement is from Jessica Ennis, Legislative Associate at Earthjustice:

“The House obviously suffers from short-term memory loss, imposing a rushed, arbitrary deadline in the oil permitting process contributed to the BP oil spill disaster. If the disaster taught us anything, it’s that oil and gas drilling pose serious risks to the environment and coastal communities and there are severe inadequacies in the current process governing offshore oil drilling. Instead of forcing the Department of the Interior to rubber-stamp oil drilling permits, Congress should focus its efforts on passing legislation that prioritizes safety and environmental protections, raises the liability for oil spills, funds Gulf restoration and reduces our dependence on oil.

“This legislation will not lower the price of gas at the pump and does nothing to help solve our addiction to dirty energy. Also, this bill attempts to put a heavy hand on the scale of justice in favor of big oil, the same companies that recently announced billions of dollars in quarterly profits. It is a blatant attempt to deny justice to coastal citizens, fishermen, and others harmed by offshore drilling accidents.

“Today the U.S. House of Representatives voted to put our country on a dangerous reverse course that keeps us hooked on dirty fossil fuels and prioritizes industry profits over people and the environment.”

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