In a time of national crisis, we need members of Congress who aren’t afraid to lead. In the BP Oil Spill, millions of gallons of oil flooded the Gulf. But a scant few in Congress were brave enough to stand up for those who lost the most: BP. Those millions of gallons were millions — if not billions — in lost profits.

That’s why we need Pat Toomey in the Senate. As a Congressman, he voted to allow drilling in the Great Lakes, even though they contain 20 percent of the world’s fresh water and it takes just one quart of oil to contaminate two million gallons of water; even at the most conservative of estimates, there has already been enough oil leaked in the BP disaster to contaminate every drop of water in Lake Erie—but he still defends his vote! He voted to allow oil drilling in national monuments and called for drilling off the coast of Florida and in protected lands in Colorado, Utah, and Alaska. He voted for billions in tax breaks for Big Oil and for payouts to oil companies to encourage offshore drilling.

In this trying time, the oil companies need a champion in the Senate. That champion is Pat Toomey.

Drilling in Lake Erie

Lake Erie is Pennsylvania’s most visited tourist attraction with more than 4 million yearly visitors — that’s more than the Liberty Bell, Gettysburg, Independence Hall or Hershey Park. It is the “Walleye Capital of the World,” a prime destination for sport fishing and ice fishing, with more than 65 fishing charter boats. It contains more of the state’s endangered, threatened and rare species than any other area of comparable size in Pennsylvania.

But what Lake Erie doesn’t have is oil drilling. Yet. That is why Congressman Toomey (R-Big Oil) voted to open the Great Lakes to oil and gas drilling.

Sure, there are risks:

  1. Even a smaller spill than the BP Gulf disaster could contaminate every drop of water in Lake Erie.

  2. Tourism jobs account for 12 percent of all jobs in Erie, and about $278 million in annual wages not to mention the $778 million in tourism spending in Erie County last year that would disappear following a spill.

  3. The Great Lakes, with 90 percent of the fresh water in this country, supply drinking water to 40 million people.

But are these risks more important than the oil companies? Of course not.

“We need cheap petroleum, and all this offshore drilling legislation is getting in our way.”

- Congressman Toomey, CNN, 6/13/08

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