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Fuelish EU oil drill moratorium defeated by Tory MEPs

Friday, 15th October 2010

A crude knee-jerk proposal before the European Parliament to call a moratorium on all deepwater oil drilling was rejected last week in Brussels thanks to an amendment submitted by Scottish Conservative MEP Struan Stevenson.

The parliament's environment committee had proposed a full moratorium following the Gulf of Mexico incident. Mr Helmer, who is the East Midlands Member of European Parliament for the Conservatives, points out that the UK has a two-decades old history of safety despite 315 deepwater wells having been drilled since 1974.

Mr Helmer said:

"Far too many jobs have been lost because of the Gulf of Mexico spill. It would be crazy to create even more through our response.

"This was a victory for common sense and facts, not for the alarmism and knee-jerk responses that are far too frequent from politicians in the EU.

"Our oil industry is renowned for its safety and security technology which we export worldwide. Initial indications show that systems in place in UK waters would have been much better placed to handle an incident like that in the Gulf of Mexico.

"There will be a review into safety procedures in all drilling operations following the devastating spill off the USA and we must remain vigilant to any risks to the environment. However, we also cannot shut down an entire industry around the UK when our safety culture here is totally different and the track record is strong.

"We risked sending the global oil industry a terrible signal that would have jeopardised millions, if not billions, of Pounds worth of orders for our state-of-the-art technology. Instead, we have said that we will learn the lessons of the Gulf of Mexico disaster without sending our valuable oil industry up in smoke. On this issue I agree with Sarah Palin -- "Drill, Baby, Drill". We need the oil"