As Deepwater Moratorium Ends, Pew Renews Call for Legislative Reforms

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Marilyn Heiman, director of the Pew Environment Group's offshore energy reform efforts, issued the following statement after the Obama administration lifted the moratorium on deepwater oil and gas drilling that has been in place since May 27, 2010.

“As the Interior Secretary allows deepwater rigs that were shut down after the Gulf of Mexico spill to go on line again, we urge him to continue the stringent oversight and reform he has imposed since the Gulf spill. At the same time, Congress should pass legislation to make these and other reforms permanent.

“The deepwater drilling moratorium was the proper response to the Deepwater Horizon disaster. At the end of September, the administration improved safety on offshore oil and gas rigs with new standards for drilling and worker protection. But more critical changes are needed.

“Lifting the moratorium does not mean that the reform process is finished, nor does it take Congress off the hook. We still need a law that eliminates the liability cap on damages when oil is spilled so that polluters, not American taxpayers, have to foot the bill to make communities whole again and to repair damage to the marine environment. Congress must require the industry to strengthen its oil-spill response capability to ensure that they can respond to a worst-case scenario in real-world conditions. And we need to increase interagency coordination for better scientific and environmental review.

“This administration has made a good start on offshore energy reform. The House has done its part by passing legislation. Now the Senate must step up and pass the Clean Energy Jobs and Oil Company Accountability Act.”

The Pew Environment Group's offshore energy reform work is now a part of Pew's Arctic Ocean Program.