The BP oil disaster in the Gulf is horrible, but should not deter the U.S. from pursuing off-shore drilling, Republican Senate candidate Pat Toomey said in a Friday interview with Pennsylvania Public Radio. Forgoing opportunities to tap new petrol deposits helps keep the nation dependent on foreign sources of energy, he said.
President Obama acted too hastily in issuing a moratorium on further drilling, Toomey believes. His Democratic opponent, Rep. Joe Sestak, disagrees, saying that the Interior Department needs to strengthen safety regulations before exploration of offshore waters can continue.
Toomey does believe that BP, or any oil company responsible for a spill, should be required to pay cleanup costs, spokeswoman Nachama Soloveichick said. "The last thing we need is a taxpayer-funded bailout of corporate failures," she said.
Toomey, a former House member and leader of the limited-government Club for Growth, had attracted more than $50,000 from PACs in the energy industry through April 28, according to the website www.OpenSecrets.org, which analyzes campaign finance reports.
In addition, Toomey has received $4,500 from the Halliburton PAC since May 2009, including $2,500 after the Deepwater Horizon spill. Halliburton, of course, is the Democrats' villain firm once headed by former Vice President Dick Cheney, and is also a major player in offshore drilling.
"Toomey clearly has been blinded by the corporate cash flowing into his campaign account," said Patrick McKenna, spokesman for the Pennsylvania Democratic Party.
Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu, a Democrat, and Rep. Charlie Melacon (D.,La.), a candidate for Senate, also oppose Obama's moratorium on drilling. Louisiana is the state most hurt by the spill so far, but much of its ecnomy also depends on the energy industry.