Congressional Western Caucus Chairman Rob Bishop (UT-01) along with fellow Western Caucus members, Congressmen Dean Heller (NV-02) and Lee Terry (NE-02), issued the following responses to President Obama's plan to open a limited fraction of offshore energy resources located in the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf (OCS).
"While the Obama Administration would have you believe it's taking a balanced approach by opening limited access to U.S. waters for offshore energy development, the reality is that today's announcement only opens a fraction of our abundant resources located throughout the deepwater OCS. Let there be no confusion: Today's announcement will not create the jobs we desperately need. Today's announcement will not spur the economic development our citizens deserve. And today's announcement will not put us on the path to energy security. Slow-walking job creation during a time of economic crisis is not smart and taking tepid steps towards economic development and energy security is not balanced," said Congressman Bishop.
The 2010-2015 leasing plan proposed by the Bush Administration opened over 500 million acres for job and energy production beginning this July. However, President Obama announced that only a small fraction of these areas will be made available and production will be delayed until 2012.
"Our nation needs a long term energy strategy that encourages conservation, develops renewable energy, and allows access to our country's natural resources. High energy prices hurt middle class families due to increased costs of food, clothes, and nearly all consumer goods. Allowing drilling to move forward off the Virginia coast is a step in the right direction. However, creating a new moratorium on oil exploration and locking down our nation's energy resources in other offshore areas will only create greater problems for our nation's already struggling economy," said Congressman Dean Heller (NV-02).
"This is a reasonable first step by the President to open up access to more or our Nation's energy resources and to reducing our dependence on foreign oil. However, there are other recoverable sources, especially natural gas within the U.S. continent that should also be freed up for development," said Congressman Lee Terry (NE-02).