2001 Scorecard Vote
The Great Lakes, which contain 20 percent of the world's fresh water supply, are endangered by continued oil and gas drilling beneath the lake beds. This so-called "directional drilling" jeopardizes shorelines, surrounding wetlands, and the waters of the Great Lakes themselves. In addition, oil spills have the potential to contaminate drinking water in eight states.
Since 1979, the seven directional wells currently in operation under the Great Lakes have not produced enough oil or gas to fuel U.S. energy needs for even a single day. Yet the governor and state legislature of Michigan recently moved to lift an existing moratorium on new drilling. During consideration of H.R. 2311, the Energy and Water appropriations bill, Representatives David Bonior (D-MI), Bart Stupak (D-MI), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), and Steven LaTourette (R-OH) introduced an amendment to impose a one-year moratorium on new drilling. Specifically, the amendment would have prohibited the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from spending federal funds to issue new permits for oil or gas drilling beneath any of the Great Lakes, as well as Lake St. Clair, the St. Mary's River, the St. Clair River, the Detroit River, the Niagara River, and the St. Lawrence River from Lake Ontario to the 45th parallel.
On June 28, 2001, the House approved the Bonior-Stupak-Kaptur-LaTourette amendment by a 265-157 vote (House roll call vote 203). YES is the pro-environment vote. In July, the Senate approved an amendment to the Energy and Water appropriations bill by unanimous consent (without a recorded vote) that would place a two-year moratorium on new oil and gas drilling in the Great Lakes. The House and Senate approved the conference report containing the Senate's moratorium on November 1, and President Bush signed it on November 12.