Upton Comments on Well Containment in the Gulf, Federal Court Ruling on Deep-Water Permits

February 17, 2011

WASHINGTON, DC - House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) today welcomed the opportunity for increased American energy production in response to news that a well containment system is now operational in the Gulf. Development of an underwater oil containment system was a key condition for reinstatement of Gulf oil production after last year's catastrophic Deepwater Horizon spill.  Upton also praised today's ruling by Judge Martin Feldman of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana that ordered the Department of Interior to act on five outstanding deep-water drilling permits within 30 days.

"Completion of the well containment response system is welcome news for the families in the Gulf region who rely on energy production for their livelihoods, but who have remained sidelined since the spill. And ultimately, this is good news for all Americans. The more energy we can produce safely here at home, the more secure and energy-independent our nation will be," said Upton.

"Last week the Energy and Commerce Committee heard testimony on the effects of Middle East events on U.S. energy markets. What we heard reaffirmed our belief that America needs an all-of-the-above energy policy that takes advantage of all the resources available to us and reduces our reliance on other parts of the world where uncertainty and upheaval can drive up prices and jeopardize access," said Upton. "Industry rightly invested in this new tool to protect our coastlines and communities from the unlikely threat of a future spill. Now that we have the safety measures in place, it's time for the Obama administration to let the Gulf get back to work."

Echoing Judge Feldman's ruling that orders the Department of Interior to decide on five deep-water permits within the next 30 days, Upton stated, "As the Federal Court said today in its decision ordering the Obama administration to act on Gulf of Mexico permits, "˜the leaking culprit well has been contained; the revised regulations are no longer new; and the threat of rigs leaving the Gulf becomes more forceful each day. The permitting backlog becomes increasingly inexcusable. Delays of four months and more in the permitting process are unreasonable, unacceptable, and unjustified.'"

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