House Passes Legislation Allowing for Air Pollution Violations During Offshore Drilling Operations

Corporations like Shell may now pollute air and water


Jess Ennis, Earthjustice, (202) 295-7619


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

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.”

Additional Resources

About Earthjustice

Earthjustice is the premier nonprofit environmental law organization. We wield the power of law and the strength of partnership to protect people's health, to preserve magnificent places and wildlife, to advance clean energy, and to combat climate change. We are here because the earth needs a good lawyer.