WASHINGTON, Feb. 11, 2009 -- Actor Ted Danson testified before Congress today, urging lawmakers to reinstate the moratorium on offshore oil drilling.
His testimony came one day after Interior Secretary Ken Salazar ordered a review of a controversial Bush administration plan to open vast tracts of the Outer Continental Shelf to oil and gas drilling.
Danson, a long-time environmental activist who sits on the board of Oceana -- an ocean advocacy group -- spoke with ABC News about the chances of getting the moratorium reimposed, campaigning for Hillary Clinton last year, and what it's like to play "the bad guy" on FX's "Damages."
Q: What brought you to Capitol Hill?
A: The moratorium on offshore oil drilling on our Outer Continental Shelf lapsed last year and I'm very much opposed to that and I came to testify. It's something that I actually had the opportunity to testify about 20 years ago here in Washington. So, here I am again, not quite believing that we are having the same conversation.
Q: Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., the chair of the House Natural Resources Committee, suggested Wednesday that the ship has already sailed -- that Congress is unlikely to reimpose a broad moratorium on offshore drilling.
A: I think he said "may have" set sail -- I take hope in the word "may."
Q: What's your read on the politics of getting the moratorium reimposed?
A: It was a political decision and it was made at a time when fuel prices were high, jobs were getting scarce, and there was a lot of campaign rhetoric, you know, "Drill, Baby, Drill!" and let's not send money over to those countries that support terrorists. All understandable. But when you look at the facts, it would perhaps make pennies difference at the pump. It will not come on-line for another 10-15 years. It's misleading to say to the public, "Jobs are scarce, we need to drill," and not to say, "You will create more jobs by investing in green energy."