CARDIN CALLS SUSPENSION OF PLANNED LEASE SALE OFF VIRGINIA COAST A POSITIVE STEP TOWARD A PERMANENT BAN TO PROTECT THE ATLANTIC
Washington, DC - U.S. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD), a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee and chairman of its Water and Wildlife Subcommittee, released the following statement in response to the Interior Department's announcement in the Federal Register today that it has indefinitely postponed any actions related to the proposed oil and gas lease sale off the coast of Virginia.
"I thank President Obama and Secretary Salazar for listening to the concerns of those of us on the Mid-Atlantic Coast who pressed them to reverse the decision to expand off-shore drilling in our region. While the announcement is not a permanent ban on future drilling activity, it is a positive step forward. Our nation desperately needs a comprehensive energy policy that will lessen our dependence on foreign oil. As we've seen with the BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the risk of permanent damage to some of our nation's most sensitive environmental areas, including the Chesapeake Bay, is far too great even with some of the most technologically advanced equipment available.
"I agree with President Obama that we can't drill our way out of our energy problems, including our long-term dependence on foreign oil. To achieve energy security, we need to use less energy and develop alternative and renewable energy sources that are inherently domestic."
Next week, Senator Cardin will participate in two hearings that will explore the consequences of oil spills on our water and wildlife.
On Tuesday, May 11 at 10:00AM , Senator Cardin and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) will co-chair a joint hearing of the Environment and Public Works (EPW) Subcommittee on Oversight and Subcommittee on Water and Wildlife. The hearing, "EPA's Role in Protecting Ocean Health," will look at EPA's work to monitor and reduce environmental risks to marine and coastal ecosystems, and to examine the effects of toxins in oceans and ocean acidification. One of the witnesses at this hearing, Dr. Carys Mitchelmore of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, Chesapeake Biological Laboratory, is an expert on oil dispersants.
Also, on Tuesday at 2:30PM, Senator Cardin will participate in a full EPW committee hearing examining the issues surrounding the oil spill in the Gulf, including the impact on the economy and the environment. The committee expects to hear testimony from several corporations involved in the spill, including BP, Halliburton and Transocean. Witnesses will also include experts on the impacts to local economies, fisheries and tourism, as well as wildlife and natural resources. Senators from the coastal states are also expected to provide testimony.
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