WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) is continuing to push back against the Biden administration’s proposed rule to establish a 28,000-square-mile Critical Habitat—more than half the size of the State of Alabama—for the Rice’s whale within the Gulf of Mexico.
Today, Senator Tuberville joined U.S. Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) in a letter to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Director Richard Spinrad and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Director Liz Klein urging them to withdraw the proposed rule that would severely harm domestic energy production. The letter follows Senator Tuberville’s September letter to Director Spinrad and Director Klein warning about the severe economic impacts the rule would have for Alabama businesses and the oil and gas industry along the Gulf. The Rice’s whale is currently protected under the Endangered Species Act, and no evidence has been presented to support the need for an expanded Critical Habitat area.
“The proposed critical habitat area stretches across many important oil and gas leases, shipping channels for major U.S. ports, and commercial and recreational fishing grounds—all activities that are likely to be dramatically curtailed if this rule is finalized,” the senators wrote. “Yet the proposed rule completely disregards the potential impact on these industries. NMFS estimates designating the Gulf of Mexico’s entire 28,270.65 square miles as a critical habitat will have “incremental administrative costs” of $240,000 over ten years—an absurdly low assessment.”
Last month, Senator Tuberville also helped introduce the Warding Off Hostile Administrative Lease Efforts (WHALE) Act to prevent the U.S. Departments of Commerce and the Interior from issuing maritime rules related to the Rice’s whale that would impede offshore energy development and military activities.
To watch Senator Tuberville speaking about the rule, click here.
Senator Tommy Tuberville represents Alabama in the United States Senate and is a member of the Senate Armed Services, Agriculture, Veterans’ Affairs, and HELP Committees.