Sunday, April 4, 2010

Senators' support of drilling irks some environmentalists

While not surprising, it is still disappointing to see politics trump morality.

Senators' support of drilling irks some environmentalists Bingaman, Udall, two favorites among environmentalists, both praised Obama plan
Steve Terrell The New Mexican
Posted: Saturday, April 03, 2010 - 4/2/10

For years, both of New Mexico's U.S. senators have voted against lifting the decades-old moratorium on offshore drilling.

But this week, when Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced the Obama administration's plan to open up part of the Atlantic coast and other areas to offshore drilling, both Sen. Jeff Bingaman, who chairs the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and Sen. Tom Udall applauded the announcement.

"I commend Secretary Salazar for proposing a plan that makes available for leasing much of the potential offshore oil and gas resources that the federal government owns," Bingaman said. "I also commend him for indicating that additional studies will be undertaken before making a final decision on leasing in areas that might be environmentally sensitive."

Bingaman said the plan is "generally consistent" with the legislation his committee approved last year.

Udall released a statement saying the new plan has "clear guidelines for offshore oil and gas production," which "builds upon the Obama Administration's unparalleled support for renewable energy and increased fuel efficiency standards. For its part, Congress must monitor the development of offshore oil and gas closely to ensure that we remain responsible stewards of our environment for future generations."

Spokeswomen for both senators said this week there were specific features about previous offshore drilling measures that prompted the votes against them. More>>>