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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

 3:30 PM 

Kagen: No new licenses for offshore drilling

U.S. Rep. Steve Kagen said he agrees with President Obama that no new licenses for offshore oil drilling should be granted until a comprehensive study can be completed of the full impact on the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Kagen, D-Appleton, spoke with reporters on a conference call following a Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hearing on the spill. He told oil executives at the hearing to set aside $25 billion “to make certain we have available funds to study the full environmental impact” of the leak, and the potential toxicity of the substances they’re using to disperse the oil.

Kagen said the BP exec said the company will take responsibility for “any and all legitimate claims.”

Kagen is concerned of the long-term impact materials the company is using to disperse the oil and their potential impact on the ecosystem and food supply. He said the dispersants contain arsenic and other toxins.

“We have never studied it long-term in a food web such as the gulf and we at this point have no idea of the long-term complications to the habitat along the wetlands of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and all of Florida, let alone Cuba” he said.

Kagen said a comprehensive energy plan is needed, including investments in renewable and nuclear energy. He said a plan should also include responsible domestic drilling and guarantee that all oil extracted in U.S. territories and waterways “comes to Americans first.”

“If we’re going to begin to point fingers (for the spill) we should all take part of the blame,” Kagen said. “We are a nation that depends upon oil and other hydrocarbons. We’re dependent upon importing energy, not just in the United States but also Wisconsin where much of our energy is derived from the burning of coal. So this really gives us an opportunity to ask the question how are we going to consume and produce energy?”


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