Vitter: Obama Blowout Preventer Rule Kicks Oil & Gas While It’s Down

Vitter has legislation to protect small businesses from new overreaching rule

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator David Vitter (R-La.) issued the following statement upon the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) issuing its final well-control rule on offshore oil and gas drilling. As Chairman of the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, Vitter has introduced an amendment to the Energy Policy Modernization Act that would protect small businesses from the economic severity of DOI’s well control rule.

“As we approach the sixth anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill that took the lives of 11 men in the Gulf of Mexico and devastated our coasts, my top priority continues to be ensuring this kind of human tragedy and subsequent economic losses never happens again. Maintaining high safety standards always takes precedence, but that is not the question here,” said Vitter. “What the Obama Administration’s ongoing anti-energy and anti-jobs crusade fails to acknowledge is that Louisiana’s energy industry supports families, small businesses, and our ongoing coastal restoration efforts. The Department of Interior’s well-control rule is bad news for Louisiana, and certainly has the potential to kick our oil and gas industry while it’s down.”

In September 2015, Vitter testified before the House Natural Resources Committee on the impacts of federal policies on energy production and economic growth in the Gulf of Mexico. Click here to read more.

Following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010, President Obama imposed a drilling moratorium in the Gulf, which substantially damaged Louisiana’s energy industry and economy. During that time, Vitter successfully blocked the nomination of Interior Department nominee Dan Ashe until the Department issued fifteen deepwater exploration well permits and responded to his previous requests for answers on the permitting process. Vitter also successfully blocked a nearly $20,000 pay raise for Interior Secretary Ken Salazar until Interior resumed issuing new permits at the same rate as before the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Vitter was an original co-sponsor of the RESTORE Act, which dedicates at least 80 percent of the Clean Water Act (CWA) penalties paid by BP and other responsible parties to the Gulf States to restore coastal ecosystems and economies damaged by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Vitter shepherded the legislation through the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, where it passed unanimously in November 2011 and through the Senate in March 2012. As a leading Republican conferee on the Highway Bill and the only member from the Louisiana delegation involved in the negotiations, Vitter continued to make the enactment of the RESTORE Act a top priority by insisting that the language be included in the final version of the bill.

Louisiana dedicates 100 percent of the revenue from offshore oil and gas development to coastal restoration, which is Louisiana’s highest environmental priority. In 2006 Vitter helped pass the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act (GOMESA), which established revenue sharing of 37.5 percent that Gulf States - Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, Alabama - could collect from offshore oil and gas production. Vitter is continuing the fight to expand the number of states receiving OCS revenue sharing and, starting in 2027, raise the amount of money each state could get per year from $500 million to $1 billion