Reps. Green, Boustany Lead Meeting with Director Bromwich
November 29, 2010
Washington, D.C. – Rep. Gene Green (D-TX) and Rep. Charles Boustany (R-LA) today met with Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) Director Michael Bromwich to discuss ongoing issues with the BOEMRE issuing new well permits in the Gulf of Mexico. The Administration has officially lifted a moratorium on issuing new offshore drilling permits; however a de facto moratorium remains. In the 7 months since the Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster, a total of 18 shallow water permits and 1 deepwater drilling permit have been issued. Prior to the spill, permits were issued at a rate of 10-15 a week.
“Domestic energy production is vital to countless livelihoods in my district, across the State of Texas, and throughout states along the Gulf of Mexico,” said Rep. Green. “Thousands of families depend on this industry and continue to suffer from the effects of an economic recession and now a continuing de facto moratorium. It is the duty and responsibility of BOEMRE to honor the end of the Administration’s moratorium and see that these permits are issued in a timely manner.”
Reps. Green and Boustany previously led a bipartisan letter to Department of Interior Secretary Kenneth Salazar with 54 of their colleagues when the Administration originally applied a moratorium to offshore drilling permits. The letter expressed support for the investigation of the Macondo well, while also voicing concern over the effects of a unilateral drilling moratorium on offshore oil and gas development. The Congressmen also led a letter with 37 colleagues to Secretary Salazar addressing the slow rate of shallow water well permits after the formal lifting of the moratorium.
“This administration continues to stall on this issue,” Rep. Boustany said. “American energy producers remain committed to safety, but have still not received clear guidelines on the new regulations. Additionally, regional and local administration officials and inspectors are still unable to get answers from Secretary Salazar or Director Bromwich on these rules. This lack of communication continues to adversely affect energy production along the Gulf Coast, and keeps hard working men and women from resuming their jobs.”
Also invited to the meeting were members of the Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Oklahoma delegations. The Members were encouraged to share their own concerns with Director Bromwich on the slow pace of offshore drilling permitting.
"The moratorium may be over, but energy workers are still waiting to get back on the job," said Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX). "How many families or businesses can survive for several months with no income coming in? If this administration can fast track wind permits, they can do the same for Gulf coast energy industry that's been forced to a standstill by their policies."
In June, Reps. Brady and Green led a letter with 22 colleagues to Secretary Salazar outlining an interim solution in place of a permit moratorium. It proposed allowing low-risk development and appraisal wells to be produced while the Department of Interior continued its assessment on deepwater exploratory wells.
Members of Congress present for the meeting were Reps. Gene Green, Charles Boustany, Kevin Brady, Steve Scalise, Dan Boren, Charlie Gonzalez, Rodney Alexander, Bill Cassidy, Pete Olson, Sheila Jackson Lee, Al Green, and Harry Teague.