Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) and Rep. Pete Olson (R-Sugarland) visit Sunbelt Machine Works in Stafford, where workers build custom parts for offshore drilling operations – work that could suffer under a drilling ban.Senator John Cornyn visited a machine shop in Stafford that manufactures parts for the offshore industry. He shook hands with some workers, then attacked the drilling ban.
"You don't shut down all airplane travel when you have a single airplane crash, you try to find out what went wrong and to fix it. But you don't have a blanket moratorium, that's really the problem here I think, with the blanket nature of this moratorium."
Congressman Pete Olson of Sugarland also toured the machine shop on Tuesday. He wants a modification of the ban, so it would affect not 33 rigs, but only the five rigs doing the riskiest type of exploratory work.
Frank Scantlin owns Sunbelt Machine Works:
"We've just come off of 18 months of recession. And, if they don't lift this moratorium it's going to be bad. We've already got people that are unemployed, we're just now beginning to get back even again."
Scantlin hasn't laid off any workers yet because of the drilling moratorium, but his orders have slowed because of the uncertainty. He says he might cut jobs in 90 days if things don't change.
Supporters of the drilling ban, like the Sierra Club, say the time-out period will actually preserve jobs in the long-run. They say that by making sure rigs are safe, the government will prevent future disasters and further damage to the Gulf Coast and its jobs. Carrie Feibel, KUHF News.