Victims' Rights Caucus

Speeches

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Mr. Speaker, "capricious, arbitrary, and punitive." Those are the words of a Federal judge today in ruling about the moratorium for offshore drilling. The Federal judge said that the administration's decision to ban offshore drilling in the deepwater was capricious, arbitrary, and punitive--therefore, illegal. And the Federal judge granted an injunction by the hardworking folks in the gulf States to stop the moratorium because of the detrimental impact it would have.

You see, Mr. Speaker, 150,000 people would lose their jobs if that moratorium continued. There are 3,900 wells in the gulf. Those 3,900 wells produce 31 percent of the Nation's domestic oil and 11 percent of our natural gas. In the deepwater area, we receive 17 percent of the Nation's domestic crude oil from that deepwater drilling. So those affected parties--by the arbitrary, capricious, and punitive ban of the Federal Government--decided to sue, and a Federal judge ruled that the administration's moratorium was improper, granted an injunction by the affected parties, and allowed them to now drill in deepwater. The Federal judge said that the people that sued the oil-related industries would suffer irreparable harm if this ban were to continue. The government's response was, Well, their losses would be trivial. The Federal judge didn't buy their argument.

Also, before a preliminary injunction can be granted, Mr. Speaker--these are rare animals--what happens is, someone goes to court and says that because they're going to be hurt so bad, the Federal judge has to stop somebody's action. In this case, our own government's action. And also, the Federal judge said, probably if there were a trial, the plaintiffs--those suing the Federal Government--would prevail on the merits and win in a jury trial. Granted the injunction because the harm done to the gulf, to the related industries, to the loss of jobs were massive and irreparable. When the Federal judge tried to hear what the Federal Government said about banning offshore drilling, the judge said, "the government's explanation abuses reason and common sense." In other words, there was no reason, there is no common sense in the almighty Federal Government coming in and banning deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. It made no sense. Mr. Speaker, it makes no sense to ban the whole deepwater drilling because of the actions of BP.

Recently in Texas, we had a BP refinery explode. People were killed. Hundreds were hurt. But we didn't close all the refineries in the United States because of one accident. It wouldn't make sense. It defies reason and common sense. When a plane crashes and people die, that's horrible, but we don't close down the airline industry for 6 months because the Federal Government wants to eventually get around to finding out what happened.

So the Federal judge who ruled in this case did so properly, and it was important for him to do so to prevent people from losing jobs. Jobs that were lost or would be lost because of the Federal government's action, not because of BP's action. So what's the Federal Government going to do about this? They're going to appeal. They don't like the ruling, so they want to appeal to the Fifth Circuit to try to overrule this judge. Why didn't the Federal Government just follow the law and allow deepwater drilling and not destroy the economy of the whole country because of arrogance and because of the lack of reason and common sense?

So, Mr. Speaker, the disaster in the gulf continues to be the second disaster in the gulf for the lack of leadership. We still don't have a Federal plan. We don't know what the Federal Government's response is. It seems like, to me, FEMA is in cha