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  • As Gas Prices Continue to Climb, House Turns Its Attention to Offshore Drilling

    Despite systematically undermining domestic oil production, President Obama has recently said he hopes to drastically decrease America’s dependence on foreign oil. Luckily for the president, congressional Republicans have proposed an array of legislation to accomplish just that. The House Natural Resources Committee spent Wednesday working on three new energy bills.

    The Obama administration’s de facto moratorium has led to a precipitous decline in U.S. oil production in the Gulf of Mexico. That prompted Natural Resources Chairman Doc Hastings (R-WA) to take action. His committee approved three new pieces of legislation with bipartisan support Wednesday. The House could vote on the package next month.

    Hastings, who recently spoke at The Bloggers Briefing at Heritage, said he proposed the bills as a response to repeated entreaties for help from those hurt by the president’s moratorium.

    “There’s one [request] that I’ve heard over and over from the oil industry,” he said. “‘Give me some certainty, that’s all we want, give me some certainty.’”

    This is what his first bill, Putting the Gulf Back to Work, would do. The bill incorporates a proposal from Reps. Bill Flores (R-TX) and Jeff Landry (R-LA) that would require the administration to act on every drilling permit within 30 days.

    The second piece of legislation requires the federal government to sell leases so Americans can benefit from vast untapped oil and energy stores owned by the United States. If there are no lease sales in 2011 — a very real possibility — “it will be first time since 1958,” Hastings said. He questioned the consistency of an administration that exalts energy independence while simultaneously cutting off this traditional method of increasing oil production.

    Hastings’ final proposal seeks to implement a long-term plan to prevent future work stoppages in the Gulf of Mexico. The proposal requires a five-year plan that would require the sale of leases to target areas of the greatest known oil and gas reserves.

    Like Hastings’ legislation, a similar proposal from Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) and Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT) aims to increase domestic energy production across America. The Domestic Jobs, Domestic Energy and Deficit Reduction Act of 2011 — or the 3-D Act — would create more than 2 million jobs, $10 trillion in economic activity and $2 trillion in federal tax receipts, according to 30-year estimates.

    The Vitter-Bishop proposal would mandate Outer Continental Shelf lease sales, open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for drilling, require action on stalled onshore permits and limit the time frame for environmental and judicial review, among other things.

    Matthew McKillip is currently a member of the Young Leaders Program at The Heritage Foundation.

    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    4 Responses to As Gas Prices Continue to Climb, House Turns Its Attention to Offshore Drilling

    1. Drew Page says:

      I have a very difficult time understanding why President Obama has given Brazil $2 billion in guaranteed loans, congratulated Brazilians on their oil producing efforts and continues the moratorium on drilling in the Gulf and in ANWAR.

      It seems to me that if the U.S. began drilling for oil on land and off shore here in America, we would be less dependent on foreign oil and that the price of oil (and gasoline) would drop. He has said repeatedly that he wants the U.S. to be less dependent on foreign oil. Did he ever really mean it? Unless and until alternative energy can practically and efficiently replace fossil fuels, we must rely on them. Does Obama not realize what a devastating impact the ever-growing cost of oil and gas is doing to our economic recovery? Does he not realize how the price of oil affect inflation?

      The federal government has told Social Security recipients that there has been no inflation in the "cost of living". How clever of those in government to define the "cost of living" to exclude the cost of energy, the cost of food and clothing. Apparently they don't believe you need to heat your home, have electricity or drive and automobile to live. I just received my property tax bill. Again it has gone up, despite the value of my home having dropped 15% over the past two years. My county's (DuPage Co., IL) explanation is that the cost of county services has gone up, and even though the value of my home has dropped, the county needs more money, so… BTW, state income taxes here in Illinois have increased by 67%. I'm sure that is also not included in the "cost of living".

      I suppose the answer to all these problems is to keep excluding things that we must purchase from the "cost of living"

      • Raymond says:

        After the 2012 election, he will wake up and realize that Americans voted for a candidate that was pro-America: THE OTHER PERSON!

    2. Ron Hert, CA. says:

      Why do these public servants think that Obama and accomplices will care if America goes back to work in the Petrolium business. He has stated that he will not support drilling for fossil fuels anywhere or anytime. Then he goes to Brazil and supports their program and even offers US taxpayer aid to fund their drilling program. So, everyone needs to understand that Obama has one agenda for the US-delay, deny, and destroy the US economy, drilling for energy independence, and cutting costs to run the government. I would love to see the United States only ship the neccessary funds to run the federal government per the US Constitution to the legislative branches, and keep all the rest-as well as take back all of the state's lands that the feds have stolen-that would be worth the risk of civil war-or just a federal rebellion against the United States-this is all that it can be. The states have all of the rights!

    3. John Nagle, Silicon says:

      The clear place to drill is near the Florida coast. Texas, Louisiana, and California have already been heavily drilled, and are mostly pumped out. (Texas is a net importer of oil. Los Angeles used to have oil wells in the city itself, and offshore wells at Santa Barbara. Those fields are exhausted now.) Florida is virgin territory, with known oil and gas deposits.

      The state of Florida bans offshore drilling. That needs to change. Drilling should be near the coast, or onshore, where costs are low and drilling is safer.

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