Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Chairman Hastings Holds Administration Accountable on Oil Drilling

The chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee announced three separate bills introduced Tuesday under the American Energy Initiative. Chairman Doc Hastings stressed that these three are but the beginning of bills that will be introduced for action in promoting energy initiatives.

The first is the Putting the Gulf Back to Work Act.

This bill will end the Obama Administration’s de facto moratorium in the Gulf of Mexico in a safe, responsible and transparent manner. It saves American jobs by preventing deliberate government inaction and bureaucratic stalling.

The bill reforms the law by requiring that a permit be issued before a well is drilled. It also requires the Secretary of the Interior to conduct a safety review to ensure that proposed drilling operations “meet all critical safety system requirements.”

The bill sets a 30-day timeline for the Secretary to act on drilling permits – either to approve the permits or not approve the permits.

The Secretary can have two 15-day extension periods. However, he must provide applicants with clear reasons for any delay or rejection. Employers need certainty and clarity, and workers need to get back on the job.

The second Restarting American Offshore Leasing Now Act.

This bill will expand American energy production and create jobs by requiring the Secretary to conduct three lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico and one in offshore Virginia.

The four specific sales in this bill were all scheduled. But when the Obama Administration effectively reinstated a ban on new offshore drilling, the sales were cancelled or delayed.

Due to the Obama Administration’s actions, 2011 will be the first year since 1958 that the federal government will not hold an offshore lease sale. The bill requires all four lease sales to take place either before June 1, 2012 or within one year of enactment of the bill.

And, the third is Reversing President Obama’s Moratorium Act

This bill requires the Administration to move forward in the 2012-2017 offshore drilling plan with leasing in areas containing the most oil and natural gas.

Even in the face of rising gasoline prices, it appears President Obama wants to drill nowhere new. This bill says let’s move forward with leasing and drilling in those areas where we know America has real, significant resources.

In contrast to the President’s drill nowhere new plan, this is a drill smart plan.

This bill also requires the Secretary to set specific production goals for five-year plans. For the 2012-2017 plan it sets a goal of 3 million barrels of oil per day, and 10 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day by 2027.

By comparison to today’s levels, this increase in oil equates to a tripling of current American offshore production, and would reduce foreign imports by nearly one-third.

Chairman Hastings is ready to hold the administration accountable on the issuing of permits and leases in the Gulf of Mexico:

On Thursday, the House Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on the effect of rising gasoline prices on families and businesses as part of its effort to determine "what has or hasn't been done" since President Barack Obama took office two years ago.

Washington state Republican Rep. Doc Hastings, the panel's chairman and a ninth-term congressman, already has an answer. He says the president "has done nothing" by not moving fast enough to allow more oil drilling in the Gulf Coast and on public land. And he says his hearing "will put a spotlight on the issue."

Tuesday,in a blogger's briefing,Chairman Hastings said, "Actions speak louder than words. His (Obama) actions are 180 degrees from what his words are", when asked about the President's oil and gas drilling agenda. Hastings pointed to the escalating energy prices - "Actions of this administration are driving up costs."

Hastings is serious about issuing a 30 day deadline in issuing permits. He points to the false claims by President Obama that production is higher now than ever. It is not thanks to any policy of Barack Obama, it is lag time results from the George W. Bush administration. Obama had no control over those results.

Hastings finished with this wrap-up sentiment: "We gotta start sometime why don't we start now?"


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