WASHINGTON, DC – House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) applauded recent congressional and judicial efforts to increase offshore energy production.
Yesterday, the House passed H.R. 1229, Putting the Gulf of Mexico Back to Work Act. The bill forces the Secretary of Interior, within 30 days, to issue drilling permits on the dozens of existing projects that were stalled after the Deepwater Horizon spill and resulting moratorium. It also establishes a 60-day deadline for the Department of Interior to act on new drilling permits. There is no deadline in current law – this bill effectively ends the de facto moratorium.
Today, the House passed H.R. 1231, Reversing President Obama’s Offshore Moratorium Act. This legislation will force the administration to issue leasing plans for areas containing the highest estimated oil and natural gas resources while also requiring production goals for every five-year plan. The bill will reverse the Obama administration’s decision to exclude thru 2017 areas outside the Central and Western Gulf of Mexico from offshore oil and gas exploration.
The bipartisan support for these bills comes on the heels of Tuesday’s federal district court ruling, which found that that the Obama administration “unlawfully and improperly delayed” permits for deep-water drilling in the Gulf. In response to these actions, Upton issued the following statement:
“Both Congress and the courts have sent a clear signal to the administration to end the de facto moratorium in the Gulf. The House has also spoken in opposition to the administration’s attempt to obstruct development of our enormous resource bases in the Atlantic, Pacific, and State of Alaska. Access to these resources is vital to meeting our nation’s energy demands and reducing our dependence on foreign oil.
“This administration has been proactive in blocking American energy supplies for far too long. Apart from the disastrous slowdown in Gulf exploration and production, the administration put the Atlantic and Pacific coasts under lock and key in the face of rising prices at the pump. The threat of $5/gallon gas appears to be a wake-up call to everyone but the White House. We are facing extreme energy challenges that call for real solutions. With increased global competition for oil supplies and turmoil in the Middle East, we can no longer afford to sit on our nation’s energy resources. In order to achieve true energy security, keep prices affordable, and protect American jobs, we must maximize all forms of American energy.”