Hoyer Floor Remarks on Legislation to Block Offshore Drilling, Protect Coastal and Arctic Ecosystems

WASHINGTON, DC - Congressman Steny H. Hoyer (MD-05) spoke on the House Floor today in support of three bills that will block oil and gas drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the Atlantic and Pacific Coasts, and in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico. Below is a link to the video and his remarks as prepared for delivery:

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Click here to watch the full remarks.

“Madam Speaker, I rise in strong support of this bill, introduced by Rep. Cunningham, and the two others on the Floor this week. All three are bipartisan bills. I want to thank Mr. Cunningham for his leadership on this bill in particular.

“A permanent moratorium on offshore oil and gas development in pristine, untouched areas will help protect ecosystems and economies all along our nation’s Atlantic and Pacific coasts. The other bills we will be considering this week will prevent oil and gas drilling along the Gulf Coast of Florida and protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The Trump Administration is forcing a false choice between energy security and the health and safety of our coastal and arctic environments. If we fail to protect vulnerable coastal and arctic ecosystems, we put at risk the livelihoods of millions Americans in those communities that depend on their continued health and abundance. 
 
“In coastal communities on the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and the Gulf of Mexico, tourism, outdoor recreation, and fishing are crucial to their economies. In Alaska, the Gwich'in people rely on the carefully balanced arctic ecosystem for hunting, fishing, and their ancient way of life. Drilling in these areas creates an unacceptable risk both to our environment and to the people who live in those communities.

“The United States is now the largest producer of oil and gas in the world. No one would have thought that possible even a decade ago, and yet here we are. Thanks to advances in technology, over the past six years we have doubled the amount of oil we export.
 
“All of that has been made possible without touching vulnerable environments like the Arctic Refuge or off the coast of my home state of Maryland. The Trump Administration is proposing to open the entire eastern seaboard for oil and gas development, from the Gulf of Maine to the straits of Florida. States up and down the Atlantic, including Maryland, oppose this move. We’ve seen what happens when something goes wrong, as was the case with the Deepwater Horizon disaster in 2010. An oil spill making its way into the Chesapeake Bay and destroying our world-class fisheries or harming the beautiful beaches of Maryland’s Chesapeake and Atlantic shores would be devastating.

“Instead of doubling down on fossil fuels, we ought to be working to reconfigure our economy to meet the challenges of climate change and seize the opportunities from developing new clean energy technologies and leading the world in transitioning to a low- and, eventually, zero-carbon economy.
 
“The Democratic-led House already took action on climate change earlier this year with the passage of the H.R. 9, the Climate Action Now Act, which would uphold our commitment to the Paris Climate Agreement. We will also continue taking meaningful action to stop the Trump Administration’s rollback of rules meant to protect clean air, clean water, and natural environments for generations to come.

“Our children and grandchildren deserve to inherit an earth and an America that is clean, healthy, and sustainable. We ignore the challenges of climate change and its effects at our peril.
 
“Vote ‘yes’ on these bills.”

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