Another step forward for domestic energy production was brought about with the passage of H.R. 1229 in the House of Representatives Wednesday. H.R. 1229 Ends Obama Administration’s De Facto Offshore Drilling Moratorium in Gulf of Mexico
The bill passed on a bi-partisan vote tally of 263 to 163. So, 163 elected representatives are in favor of American job losses and foreign energy dependence? Interesting. Wasn't it the Democrats who were so against jobs going overseas when President Bush was in office? Well, the oil drilling rigs not in use in our own Gulf of Mexico are going overseas to work. That means foreign crews will be hired and few Americans will be offered jobs to follow the rigs in foreign waters.
“This bill will provide relief to the people of the Gulf of Mexico by allowing them to finally return to work following the Obama Administration’s intentional slow-walking of drilling permits,” said Chairman Hastings. “With passage of this bill, House Republicans are sending a strong signal that we will not sit idly by while the Obama Administration sidelines American workers, sends American jobs overseas and continues to lock-up our American energy resources at a time of rising gasoline prices. I applaud the House for passing the Putting the Gulf back to Work Act and hope the Senate follows our lead to ease the economic pain in the Gulf of Mexico and help reduce gasoline prices across the country.”
This week, the House will also vote on Chairman Hastings’ third offshore drilling bill, H.R. 1231, the Reversing President Obama’s Offshore Moratorium Act.
H.R. 1229, the Putting the Gulf Back to Work Act:
•Improves safety by reforming current law to 1) require lease holders to receive an approved permit to drill before drilling an offshore well and 2) require the Secretary of the Interior to conduct a safety review.
•Sets a firm 30 day timeline (with two 15 day extensions) for the Secretary to act on a permit to drill. This simply requires the Secretary to act within the set period of time – it is not a requirement that permits be approved. This firm timeline will make certain that the Obama Administration cannot impose a moratorium through deliberate inaction.
•Provides 30 days, with no extension, for the Secretary to restart Gulf permits that were approved before the Administration’s moratorium was imposed on May 27, 2010. If the Secretary fails to act, the leases will be put into suspension (the clock stops ticking on the time-limited lease) until a decision is made.
•Establishes an expedited judicial review process for resolving lawsuits relating to Gulf permits. This reform ensures that ending the de facto moratorium imposed by the Obama Administration isn’t replaced by paralyzing, frivolous lawsuits that could take years to resolve.
It is common sense legislation to remedy an unacceptable demise in domestic oil and gas drilling. It is wrong for politicians - including President Obama - to continue to make oil and gas production the bad guys of business. It is cheap political point scoring and it is against what our country stands for - free enterprise and national independence.
Former Rep Harold Ford has a piece in Wednesday's Wall Street Journal. In it he makes note that even former President Clinton calls the drilling moratorium "ridiculous". He writes,"...let's stop demonizing Big Oil to score political points. It does nothing to encourage the new talent, new ideas, and new entrepreneurs who are most likely to make breakthroughs in new sources of energy.
The kickoff of the presidential campaign season and the spike in fuel prices offer an opportunity to constructively debate a comprehensive national energy strategy. Effective policies will ensure sufficient domestic production and the healthy operation of U.S. companies abroad, which together will provide the secure, affordable energy supply that Americans need."
The next step is passage of H.R. 1231.