AAEA President Norris McDonald presented testimony before the National Commission on the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling today. The hearing was held in the Atrium Ballroom of the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, D.C.
C-SPAN Video [McDonald statement at 03:55:25]
The Center, through its membership arm, the African American Environmentalist Association, is pursuing ownership stakes in offshore oil drilling operations because blacks do not own any of the energy infrastructure and resources in America. This is an effort by us to gain equity in the energy sector. AAEA is concerned that of the more than 4,000 offshore oil wells in the Gulf of Mexico, none of the leases are held by black-owned companies.
Blacks in Government (BIG) have also raised the issue of few to no blacks in MMS (BOE) management positions overseeing offshore drilling. Citing the lack of diversity among senior managers at the Department of Interior, BIG sees the same cozy ‘good old boys’ network as contributing to the failed oversight that contributed to the Gulf oil disaster. BIG has described in detail this cozy network of attitudes in its recent White Paper on race relations at Interior. The White Paper is entitled “Critical Personnel Issues Affecting Black Employees in the Department of Interior.”
The Center opposes expanded drilling off the East and West Coasts and Coasts of Florida. The Center will continue to work to reestablish the moratorium on expanded drilling.
The Macondo Well should be put into production by a responsible offshore oil production company. BP estimates that the reservoir contains upward of 50 million barrels of oil. A significant portion of the money from such production should go directly to the families of the 11 people killed during the April 20, 2010 explosion. Additional revenues should go to economic relief for the Gulf economies that have been negatively affected by the oil spill disaster.
The Center has opposed the moratorium on deepwater drilling because of the harm to the Gulf economy and our belief that the other companies have been operating responsibly.
The Center supports the efforts of some of Exxon Mobil Corp, Royal Dutch Shell PLC and ConocoPhillips to provide emergency response services for deepwater oil blowouts.