Jun 28, 2013
Another BP? Congressman Southerland Votes Against Off-Shore Drilling Safety in Gulf
In another example of putting broken politics over north Florida families, Congressman Southerland voted against a measure that would have created safety requirements for new off-shore drilling in the Gulf. The measure would have required third-party certification of safety systems, including blowout preventers, casing, and cementing programs. According to the New York Times, the “central cause” of the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe was a failure of the cement at the base of the well.
“Congressman Southerland keeps showing north Florida residents that he represents everything folks hate about Washington,” said David Bergstein of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “First Congressman Southerland scuttles the Farm Bill that north Floridians were counting on. Now instead of voting for a common sense measure to protect his own district from another oil spill, Congressman Southerland is again siding with the extremely dysfunctional politics of Washington. It’s yet another example showing how out touch Congressman Southerland’s extreme politics are with north Florida’s values.”
The BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill devastated the beaches and economy of Congressman Southerland’s costal district. The Tampa Bay Times and Sarasota Herald Tribune reported of “lingering-and perhaps growing” damage three years after the spill “blackened” Panhandle beaches .
Congressman Southerland Voted Against Safety Requirements for New Drilling in the Gulf. In 2013, Southerland voted against a motion that would require that requirements were met for well safety, blowout protection and risk assessment prior to new drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. In part, the motion would require third-party certification of safety systems, such as blowout preventers, and third-party certification of well casing and cementing programs and procedures. The motion would also require increased fines for every day an oil well is found to be in violation of these requirements. [HR 1613, Vote #292, 6/27/13]
“Lingering- and Perhaps Growing” Damage in the Gulf Years After the BP Oil Spill “Blackened” Panhandle Beaches. In April 2012, the Tampa Bay Times reported, “The gulf and its residents are still coping with the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon disaster…But biologists are finding signs of lingering-and perhaps growing- damage throughout the gulf, from the bottom of the food chain to the top.” In 2011, the Herald-Tribune reported that following the spill, “Huge slicks blackened Louisiana swamps and Panhandle beaches […] Panhandle companies and individuals already have been paid more than $1 billion by the Gulf Coast Claims Facility, which administers BP reimbursement for effects of the oil spill. In Pensacola, for example, the summer season sank with the spill. Tourist officials estimate that the lodging industry lost more than $10 million of revenue in June, July and August of 2010.” [Tampa Bay Times, 4/14/12; Herald-Tribune, 4/19/11]
Congressman Southerland Has Accepted Nearly $30,000 from the Oil and Gas Industry. Since 2010, Southerland has accepted $29,842 from the oil and gas industry. [Center for Responsive Politics, 6/27/13]