Monday, May 14, 2012

ICYMI: Pete Hoekstra Tells Tea Party Audience He Supports Oil Drilling in Great Lakes

From Michigan Democratic Party

Hoekstra spokesman then reiterates Hoekstra’s opposition to federal ban on Great Lakes Drilling and Praises Slant Drilling Technology

LANSING – In case you missed it, the Detroit Free Press reported that Pete Hoekstra recently told a Tea Party audience in Clarkston that he supports a plan to drill for oil in the Great Lakes. Hoekstra’s support for directional drilling in the Great Lakes was captured here on video.  A Hoekstra spokesman then reiterated to the Free Press that Hoekstra opposes the current federal ban on Great Lakes drilling, saying that the states should have the authority to allow drilling if they choose.  The Hoekstra campaign also reiterated, according to the Free Press, that Pete Hoekstra believes that directional Great Lakes drilling “holds promise and could allow for drilling if states deemed it safe”.

While Hoekstra’s campaign seemed to attempt to backpedal from Hoekstra’s comments initially in the Free Press story, they went on to double-down on the fact that Hoekstra does not want a federal ban on Great Lakes drilling and thinks states should be allowed to approve directional drilling–presenting a stark difference between Hoekstra’s position and that of Senator Debbie Stabenow.  Stabenow authored the federal ban on Great Lakes drilling in 2001–the very first bill Senator Stabenow passed into law when she began serving Michigan in the United States Senate in 2001, and, according to the Free Press, “has been a prominent force for keeping drilling out of the Great Lakes ever since.”

Stabenow’s Great Lakes drilling ban, which Hoekstra is opposing, was passed with a bipartisan vote in a Republican-controlled Congress and signed into law by President Bush.

“Hoekstra’s desire to end the federal ban on drilling the Great Lakes for oil is totally out of the mainstream and completely outrageous,” said Mark Brewer, Chair of the Michigan Democratic Party. “Even most Republicans have supported the ban on drilling in the Lakes because they recognize that a disaster like the BP spill in the Gulf or the Enbridge spill in Michigan could destroy the Great Lakes–and the jobs and industries that depend on them. Pete Hoekstra’s dangerous plan to allow Big Oil’s drills into the Great Lakes would threaten hundreds of thousands of jobs and our state’s most important natural resource.”

Studies show that allowing drilling for oil in the Great Lakes would produce a very small amount of oil–the U.S. Geological Survey says that even if oil companies got every drop of oil possible out of the Great Lakes, it would provide the country with a little over two weeks (16 days) worth of energy (USGS estimates that there is about 312 million barrels of oil recoverable in the Great Lakes, and the US consumes 19 million barrels per day).  An amount that small would have virtually no impact on world markets or affect the price of gas at the pump.  But while the benefits of Great Lakes drilling would be incredibly small, the risk of a spill could be potentially devastating to the Lakes and the multi-billion dollar tourism, boating and fishing industries that depend on them. Risking the Great Lakes’ devastation for literally a few days worth of oil is widely viewed as a risk not at all worth taking–which is why so many in both parties are against Great Lakes drilling.

Along with passing the federal ban on drilling in the Great Lakes, Senator Stabenow has also continued to pressure the Obama Administration to pressure Canada to implement a similar ban. Senator Stabenow continues to lead efforts to stop the spread of invasive species, like Asian Carp, from getting into the Great Lakes, and has remained a tireless advocate of common-sense conservation efforts that protect one of Michigan’s most important economic assets.
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