The White House-appointed Oil Spill Commission had a chance to chart a new course for responsible offshore energy development in the future, but with the release of its report on Tuesday, Jan. 11, it appears to have come up short in that charge, according to the Consumer Energy Alliance. CEA president David Holt delivered the group’s message to policymakers and the press upon reviewing the 398-page report.
“This commission had an opportunity, and some might even say a mandate, to move the current energy debate past politics and toward a reasonable consensus on the best and safest way to allow Americans continued access to the energy resources they own offshore,” Holt says. “Part of that mandate called on the commission to take a hard look at the facts, and produce a set of recommendations aimed at improving the way we access energy offshore – not for the purpose of shutting those activities down, but for the purpose of making them safer. Unfortunately, too much of the report issued today appears to fall outside those parameters.”
CEA says that although the report includes recommendations for setting aside spill-related funds for long-term restoration of the Gulf Coast, its wetlands and its ecosystem, the document also strays into the political and at times reads more like a statement of national energy policy than a technical examination of the Macondo incident and its aftermath. According to CEA, the report includes an entire section questioning whether offshore energy development can take place safely and responsibly in Alaska and the Arctic. CEA says the report focuses on what went wrong last April and does not discuss what steps industry has taken to further reduce the risk of such an event occurring in the future.
“The current slowdown in the issuance of offshore drilling permits and the reduced flow of North Slope energy from Alaska compromises our domestic energy security and puts energy-dependent industries such as trucking in a precarious position,” says Richard Moskowitz, vice president and regulatory affairs counsel for the American Trucking Associations, and chairman of CEA’s board. “Consumers should be very concerned that the price of oil crossed the $90 threshold in the month of January. Absent a rational change in domestic energy policy, we are concerned that the price of oil will continue to climb and have a dramatic and negative effect on our already struggling economy.”