The BP oil spill is an ongoing tragedy for the Gulf Coast region, its economy and the environment. Our first priority must be to stop the leak and do everything possible to preserve the livelihoods of those in the area. I feel strongly that BP must bear the financial burden for this disaster because hard-working people like you shouldn't have to pay a dime.
Next, the federal government must work more closely with the state governments to minimize the effects of this disaster, and allow local entities to do what is necessary to protect their wetlands and shorelines. Then we need to find out what went wrong and it is my hope that BP, the administration and Congress can work together in an open and transparent process on responsible, bipartisan solutions.
So far this administration has been slow to respond to this disaster. The government's response has been disorganized and distracted from the beginning, and it hasn't provided the effective, energetic, hands-on leadership that the American people expect during a crisis and that the law requires. Congress must resist the urge to legislate out of panic during this crisis and the administration should not exploit this catastrophe to stop all drilling and advance its disastrous cap-and-trade energy policy, which won't stop the well from leaking and will only raise the cost of energy for American families.
It has always been my position that we continue to support an "all of the above" energy policy that offers increased energy independence, good jobs and a cleaner environment through greater efficiency and increased development of nuclear, renewable, and alternative energies, along with the expanded, environmentally responsible development of America's own natural energy resources. We must continue to seek energy independence for our nation while implementing appropriate safeguards to ensure that there isn't a second BP disaster in the future.
It is my hope that hard-working Americans up and down the Gulf Coast get the answers they deserve from BP and the federal government as soon as possible. As long as this crisis continues, and as long as the moratorium on offshore drilling is in place, the people of the Gulf Coast will continue to face economic hardship and job loss. The last thing the president should be focused on is trying to revive and pass a costly, job-killing national energy tax.
We need to fix this problem, assess what happened and go from there.
Blaine Luetkemeyer is the representative for Missouri's 9th Congressional District.