IPAA Responds to the National Oil Spill Commission’s Final Report

IPAA Responds to the National Oil Spill Commission’s Final Report

WASHINGTON – Bruce Vincent, president of the Houston-based Swift Energy Company (NYSE: SFY) and chairman of theIndependent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA), a national trade organization that represents the companies — who on average employ only 12 workers — that drill 90 percent of the nation’s oil and natural gas wells, issued the following statement regarding the National Oil Spill Commission’s final report, released earlier today:

“We are pleased the commission has completed its work and has issued its long awaited report. While we continue to evaluate and analyze the commission’s broad range of recommendations, we remain hopeful of the prospect that any new federal laws and regulations will aim to ensure that America’s oil and natural gas producers operating offshore, and the thousands of small businesses that support this critical industry along the Gulf Coast, can get back to work soon.

“The safety of our workers and of the environment is, has been and will continue to be our industry’s top priority. However, we are concerned that duplicative and overlapping new regulatory agencies – as recommended by the commission – could further delay the thousands of Americans waiting to get back to work in the Gulf region. The risk of further suppressing job creation during this historic economic downturn, and deepening our nation’s dependence on unstable regions of the world to keep our economy moving without adding any additional environmental benefits is wide of the mark.

“There continues to be much discussion in Washington regarding liability cap levels and limits, and that central issue is further underscored in the commission’s recommendations. It’s vitally important that such policies must not create an unworkable regulatory framework for our industry, including smaller independent producers, to effectively and safely deliver job-creating, taxpayer-owned energy to American consumers while ensuring environmental safeguards.

“Proposals in the 111th Congress to increase offshore liability limits to $10 billion, $20 billion, and no liability limits under the OPA 90 are unrealistic. Such proposals would empower multinational and foreign oil companies while creating an impossible financial challenge to America’s independent producers who compete with these corporations in the offshore. Unrealistic liability proposals would not achieve any of our national security, domestic energy or economic priorities, namely to provide for more American-produced energy, jobs and fewer oil imports.

“The Interior Department has put in place a host of new safeguards and industry standards aimed at making certain that offshore American energy production remains environmentally sound. We will continue to work closely with the Administration, and leaders on Capitol Hill, to craft policies that will make this process more efficient, particularly as it relates to permitting, achieve the goal of increasing job growth, and strengthen energy security in the Gulf and throughout the country.”

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Julia Bell