Rep. Hall criticizes Pres. Obama’s moratorium on new drilling in Gulf

By J.J. Smith. Rep. Ralph Hall (R-Rockwall) criticized Pres. Obama’s six-month drilling moratorium on new oil wells in the Gulf at a news conference yesterday in Washington D.C. saying “it is like tying one hand behind our back in the nation’s effort to become less dependent on foreign oil.”

Joining Congressman  from Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi, who also oppose the drilling moratorium, the popular 16-term Congressman explained:

“Imposing a six-month drilling moratorium, including a halt in consideration of shallow water drilling in the Arctic, is only tying one hand behind our back in the effort to move forward. It does not help fix the leak, it does not help in the cleanup effort – it only amplifies our dependence on foreign oil.”

“This proposal only serves to shift drilling to other countries along with thousands of U.S. jobs.”

“It is far more productive for the federal government to advance research and development to help industry not only drill responsibly, but also more effectively clean the water and land after spills. The Outer Continental Shelf, or OCS, is one of the nation’s greatest resources for energy.”

Hall also expressed frustration with the way the oil spill has been handled by the federal government and British Petroleum.

“I am very troubled about the way our administration has handled the situation,” said Hall, who is a long time member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

He added that BP is ultimately responsible for the spill and clean-up costs.

“BP is ultimately responsible for this oil spill. They are responsible for repairing the damaged well and, as the owner of the mineral rights to drill for oil in the Mississippi Canyon Block 252, BP is also accountable for the clean up costs.”

“To date, BP has paid out over $63 million in claims and will be paying millions more moving forward,” he said.

Hall also defended his friend, former President George Bush, and took issue with Pres. Obama’s criticism of the former President and his Administration’s policies.

“The push to say this is the fault of the energy people, this is the fault of the last president – I don’t recollect our president on 9/11 going to New York and blaming it on Bill Clinton,” he said.

The press conference followed the House Energy and Environment Subcommittee hearing entitled “Drilling Down on America’s Energy Future: Safety, Security and Clean Energy.”

Witnesses present at the hearing included Lamar McKay, President and Chairman of BP America Inc; Rex Tillerson, Chairman and CEO of Exxon-Mobil; John Watson,. Chairman and CEO of Chevron Corporation; James Mulva, Chairman and CEO of Conoco Phillips; and Marvin Odum, President of Shell Oil Company.

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