Ban on Outer Continental Shelf Lifted One Year Ago…Yet Still No Action
Unemployment Rate and Energy Costs Soar As OCS Remains Unutilized
Jul 14, 2009 -
Today, Congressional Western Caucus members Rob Bishop (UT-01), House Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member Doc Hastings (WA-04), Congressman Don Young (AK-At Large), and Congressman Louie Gohmert (TX-01) joined former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, president of the Institute of Energy Research Tom Pyle and other Members of Congress to highlight today as the historic one-year anniversary of President Bush’s lifting of the presidential moratorium on offshore drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS).
Although the ban was lifted one year ago, the Obama administration has delayed a new five-year leasing program on the OCS that would provide access to abundant energy resources and create over a million new jobs.
The current unemployment rate has reached a staggering 9.5 percent and could reach into the double digits by the end of the summer. The Obama administration has taken steps to prevent domestic energy production not only on the OCS, but also throughout the West, including the cancellation of oil and gas leases on over 130,000 acres in the state of Utah and by withdrawing the expanded research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) leases for oil shale.
“The evidence is clear that this administration seems intent on restricting the development of American energy resources,” said Congressional Western Caucus Chairman Rob Bishop. “The reality is that America has ample resources to provide for our energy needs, create new jobs, and start down the road towards economic recovery.”
Members of the Congressional Western Caucus joined in noting the one-year anniversary of the presidential moratorium being lifted on the OCS.
“Our nation needs a comprehensive energy plan that promotes conservation, renewable energy development, and access to our own natural resources. Each of these components is critical to meet our nation’s future energy needs. Discouraging the responsible development of our natural resources does nothing to solve our nation’s energy problems and keeps our country hostage to foreign oil. We need a long term energy strategy that will create jobs and ensure long-term energy security for our country,” said Congressman Dean Heller (R-NV.)
“The moratoria has been lifted, but the Obama Administration has demonstrated the OCS will remain off-limits to the environmentally-safe production of American-made energy. Combined with the 77 canceled oil and gas leases in Utah, the Obama Administration has shown it has no energy policy, other than to increase taxes on our current energy consumption,” said Congressman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT.) “With unemployment nearing double digits, and energy prices set to spike again, it is time for the Administration to allow for the responsible development of our own resources.”
“As Ranking Member of the House Natural Resources Committee, I realize how much potential our country holds for domestic energy production. But unfortunately, today, we are marking a year of lost American energy and job potential – simply because the Obama Administration has actively discouraged oil and gas development in our country. Instead of opening up the OCS, the Obama Administration and Democrats in Congress are moving forward with a National Energy Tax that will eliminate jobs, spike energy bills and decrease economic growth. Republicans have a better way forward with an all-of-the-above energy plan that protects our environment, provides affordable energy, and creates new high-paying jobs,” said Congressman Doc Hastings (R-WA).
Nearly 2 million Americans have lost their jobs on President Obama’s watch,” Congressman Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) said. “Yet, he continues to stand in the way of outer continental shelf energy exploration – the associated activities of which could cut those job losses in half. One year after the ban was lifted on producing these vast energy reserves, the Obama Administration has slowed down our ability to produce domestic energy, kept millions of Americans from good paying energy jobs, and allowed the Saudi royal family to keep stuffing their pockets with American dollars spent on imported oil. I urge the President to stop his foot dragging and help millions of Americans to get back to work.”
“With millions of Americans looking for work right now, the government should be helping the private sector create jobs, not stifling employment opportunities. Unfortunately, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar has chosen to use delay tactics to interfere with offshore drilling. His decision is costing American workers jobs and access to lower-cost energy. I urge Secretary Salazar to reject the fringe environmental elements of his party and adopt a more common sense policy for accessing our country’s abundant natural resources,” said Congressman Doug Lamborn (R-CO.)
“The oil and gas business began in my district when the first commercial oil well was established in Titusville, Penn., 150 years ago. That oil field is still producing. One year ago, President George Bush took a significant step toward energy independence for the nation when he lifted the presidential ban on responsible offshore energy production on America’s outer continental shelf, “ said Rep. Glenn Thompson, (R-PA.) “But today oil and natural gas drilling activities in the U.S. show a drop of nearly 46 percent from a year ago. Royalties from that lost production could address the trillion dollar debt and create real jobs. Instead, we see a Democratic Cap and Trade plan to tax all fossil fuels out of use. Where is the stimulus in that?”
“It was a striking victory for Republicans last year when the ban on off-shore drilling was lifted. It is my hope that President Obama will uphold that executive move to prevent the skyrocketing gas prices we saw early last year under the Democrat-controlled Congress. Anything short of that would ultimately reinstate the ban and hurt an already weakened economy. American families nationwide deserve lower gas prices and independence from foreign oil,” said Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon (R-CA)
“When the ban was lifted on Outer Continental Shelf development a year ago, it was good news for our country,” said Congressman Don Young (R-AK). “We thought we were finally making some progress in our quest to develop our own resources. Unfortunately, a year later nothing has been done. The ban may have technically been lifted but the reality is that this Administration and the Majority in Congress have done everything in their power to ensure that we continue to starve this nation of its energy independence. So far in 2009, the U.S. has imported an average of 12.4 million barrels of oil per day. Last year, the U.S. sent $453 billion overseas! It’s estimated that drilling in the OCS would provide 1.2 million new jobs and $70 billion in additional wages each year. In an economy like the one we’re struggling with today, why are we continuing to send our hard-earned money overseas, and not keeping it at home where it belongs? I’m all for alternate forms of energy, but wind doesn’t power planes, trains or automobiles. We need to immediately start developing our fossil fuels and let that pave the way to our energy future. Enough is enough, we cannot wait any longer!”
"Today’s decision by the Majority and the President to keep vast amounts of American energy locked up, together with last month’s cap and tax bill, demonstrate the Majority is out of touch with the needs of the American people," Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) said. "During this time of rising unemployment, we should create American jobs by encouraging responsible energy development, increasing conservation and investing in new forms of American energy."