Thank you for writing to me to express your opposition to expanding offshore oil and gas production. I appreciate the time you took to write, and I welcome the opportunity to respond.
I share your concerns and agree that expanding offshore drilling represents a false promise and an unnecessary risk to our coastal communities, economies and ecosystems. The United States has only three percent of the known global oil reserves under its water and lands but accounts for nearly 23 percent of global oil consumption. Energy independence cannot be achieved by expanding offshore oil and gas production. The recent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is a stark reminder that drilling in critical places off of our coastlines carries with it real and potentially catastrophic risk. Instead, the United States must make a permanent shift toward low-carbon, renewable energy and energy efficient technologies. Investing in clean energy will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase energy independence, and contribute to long-term economic growth.
You will be interested to know that I joined Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Patty Murray (D-WA), Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) in introducing a bill (S. 3358) that would permanently prohibit offshore drilling on the outer continental shelf of California, Oregon and Washington State. I have also cosponsored legislation (S. 3308) that would require the Secretary of the Interior to suspend oil and gas exploration, development, and production activities in the outer continental shelf, including seismic and other geological and geophysical surveys, until the joint investigation into the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has been completed. I am pleased that the Administration has declared that there will not be any leasing in new areas off the coast of the United States until a review of the Gulf oil spill is completed. In my view, very clear standards and greater environmental and safety oversight should be in place before drilling resumes and any new rigs are placed offshore.
Please know that I share your concerns about expanding domestic oil and gas production on the outer continental shelf, and I will keep your thoughts in mind should the Senate consider legislation on this issue in the 111th Congress.
Again, thank you for writing. If you have additional comments or questions, please contact my Washington, D.C. staff at (202) 224-3841. Best regards.
United States Senator
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