Vitter Blasts Obama Administration for Failure to Provide Witness at Moratorium Hearing

July 27, 2010

(Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Sen. David Vitter today in his opening remarks at the U.S. Senate Small Business Committee hearing on the devastating effects of the deepwater drilling moratorium on small businesses criticized the Obama administration for failing to provide a witness to defend the moratorium. Vitter had requested an appearance by an administration official in a letter to the president last week.

“I invited the president to send an official from the White House or a relevant agency to lay out the rationale for the moratorium, but unfortunately the administration was unable to produce a single witness,” said Vitter. “I think that’s very telling, and frankly, it’s a shame that all we’ve heard are excuses from the president and other administration officials. The members of the president’s own commission on the oil spill have expressed grave concerns about the moratorium’s impact on the economy along the Gulf Coast, but we can’t seem to get any direct answers from the administration.”

The full text of the letter Vitter sent to the White House last week requesting a witness for the hearing is below.

July 22, 2010

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Mr. President:

As you are aware, the Senate Small Business Committee is holding a hearing on the economic impacts of the ongoing federal moratorium on drilling in the Gulf of Mexico next Tuesday, July 27th. This would be an excellent opportunity for your administration to participate in a discussion to better understand the crippling economic effects of the moratorium.

I am confident Chairman Landrieu would make room for an official to testify on either of the two panels. The moratorium that is putting tens of thousands of Gulf Coast citizens out of work is wholly a decision that rests on your shoulders. Accordingly, it would be appropriate for the Secretary of Interior, or one of the other senior officials copied on this letter, to testify as to why the ongoing moratorium is justified considering the severe economic impacts it is causing Gulf Coast small business owners and employees and their families.

At minimum, this hearing would be a superb opportunity for senior advisors within your administration to attend and hear first-hand the actual “on-the-ground” effects your moratorium is having on local economies and Louisiana families. Several excellent witnesses have also been invited to speak about the broader economic impacts of the moratorium to all the Gulf Coast states and our nation as a whole.

This may also be an excellent opportunity for someone in your administration to explain how cutting off access to resources lowers unemployment, as well as elaborate on how a nation generates wealth and creates jobs under a policy that forces companies to seek resource opportunities overseas.

Again, I sincerely ask that you make a proactive attempt to find someone in your administration to contribute to the hearing next Tuesday in the Senate Small Business Committee, so we may have the benefit of better understanding what merits the moratorium has that outweigh the severe economic damage it is causing the already economically embattled state of Louisiana and the other Gulf Coast states.


David Vitter
United States Senator

Cc: Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar
NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco
EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson
OSTP Director John Holdren
Carol Browner

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