Today, the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 253–166 approved legislation that would loosen Clean Air Act requirements for offshore drilling companies in the Arctic, Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, and the Eastern Gulf of Mexico. Sponsored by Rep. Cory Gardner (R-CO), H.R. 2021, “The Jobs and Energy Permitting Act of 2011” seeks to shorten the length of time drilling operations are regulated, allow greater amounts of air pollution to be emitted by measuring pollution onshore instead of at the drill site, exempt support vessels from applying pollution control technology, and remove permit review from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Environmental Appeals Board to the D.C. Circuit.
The following statement is from Jessica Ennis, Legislative Associate at Earthjustice:
“The House continues to stick their head in the sand by approving legislation that ignores the very real and dire threat that offshore oil drilling places on our vulnerable shores.
“Our elected leaders are irresponsibly attempting to change existing law to allow for these multi-billion dollar corporations to sidestep straightforward air pollution requirements. The House is continuing to let industry trump any and all environmental concern for our coasts and coastal communities.
“Trampling all over the Clean Air Act is not the way to keep our shores safe from the destructive practices of offshore oil drilling. Coastal communities already face the mounting threat of an oil spill and allowing Big Oil to threaten their health with increased air pollution is the wrong move. Our elected leaders should know better.”