Mr. SMITH of Nebraska. Mr. Speaker, in October 2008, just a year ago, Congress lifted the decades-long ban on energy exploration off America's coasts, clearing the way for expanded domestic oil and gas exploration. Unfortunately, instead of moving forward with a plan to explore the Outer Continental Shelf, this administration has stopped progress by instituting an extended 6-month public comment period.
Now the Obama administration has indicated offshore exploration may not happen until 2012, meaning what was a mere 6-month delay for comments has now become 3-year ban or could become a 3-year ban on offshore drilling.
Mr. Speaker, Americans are still waiting for expanded oil and gas exploration. With unemployment nearing 10 percent and our Nation's deficit topping $9 trillion, it is simply irresponsible to continue this de facto ban on American energy protection. We need to take an all-of-the-above approach when it comes to our energy portfolio, an approach which includes developing American offshore energy resources.