June 8, 2010
Vitter: inspect deepwater rigs, don't ban drilling
U.S. Senator David Vitter (R.-La.) has added his voice to those opposing the moratorium on deepwater offshore drilling. He wrote President Barack Obama June 3, urging him to replace his recently announced shutdown of deepwater rigs for a minimum of six months with immediate rig safety inspections instead. He followed this up with a letter yesterday to Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar
Text of letter to President Obama
June 3, 2010
VIA FACSIMILE AND ELECTRONIC MAIL
IMMEDIATE ATTENTION REQUESTED
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20500
Dear President Obama,
I am very concerned about the recently announced shutdown of deepwater rigs for a minimum of six months. I urge you to replace this moratorium with immediate rig safety inspections.
Under this alternative, the approximately 33 affected deepwater rigs in the Gulf would receive immediate rigorous safety inspections. They would be shut down if inspections identified safety problems, but not otherwise.
During this current recession, Louisiana‚Aeos unemployment rates are 6.2%. The federal government needs to be focused on policies that will create jobs. This moratorium is estimated to eliminate 3,000 to 4,000 Louisiana jobs in the short term. It could eliminate up to 10,000 jobs and possibly 20,000 jobs throughout the course of the year. This moratorium also obstructs Louisiana‚Aeos ability to collect revenue from offshore activity, which is used for coastal restoration to protect the state from hurricanes.
Our workforce and economy have been significantly impacted from the ongoing oil spill crisis in the Gulf of Mexico. This deepwater moratorium could potentially be devastating for Louisiana. The likely impact of this moratorium is long term job destruction as these jobs leave the Gulf region permanently and move to other regions of the world.
Please consider my proposal to replace the moratorium with immediate rig safety inspections.
Text of letter to Secretary Salazar
June 7, 2010
The Honorable Ken Salazar
Secretary of the Interior
1849 C St., NW
Washington, DC 20240
VIA ELECTRONIC MAIL AND FACSIMILE
IMMEDIATE ATTENTION REQUESTED
Dear Secretary Salazar:
This letter is to follow up on our telephone conference of June 4 on the six month deepwater moratorium, as well as my conversation with the president about it a few hours earlier during his visit to Louisiana.
As I stated, there is no one more environmentally devastated by this oil disaster than the people of the Gulf Coast. It's our coast, our marshes, and our way of life that is being impacted. However, despite the ongoing oil spill disaster, the great majority of Gulf Coast citizens feel strongly that the administration's deepwater moratorium is a major mistake. Simply put, it will cost us more jobs and economic devastation than the oil spill itself.
In light of that, I again ask the president to immediately instruct his Deepwater Horizon commission to give him precise safety enhancement recommendations as soon as possible, even as the commission continues with its full work leading to a final report in six months. This would allow new safety measures and inspections to be put in place very soon, to be accompanied by the lifting of the moratorium, all hopefully in a matter of a few weeks, not six months or more.
I am also writing to request that you meet with myself and the other Gulf Coast senators later this week to discuss the moratorium and this specific suggestion. We very much appreciated our meeting with you on May 26 regarding shallow water production and thought the discussion was extremely useful. We respectfully request a further meeting regarding the deepwater moratorium and our alternative suggestion given the enormous number of jobs at stake.
United States Senator
Cc: Gov. Bobby Jindal
Billy Nungesser, Plaquemines Parish President
Steve Theriot, Jefferson Parish President
Charlotte Randolph, Lafourche Parish President
Michel Claudet, Terrebonne Parish President