Today, Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) and all of his Republican colleagues on the House Natural Resources Committee sent a letter to Committee Chairman Nick Rahall requesting a full committee hearing on President Obama's offshore drilling announcement from March 31st.
Rep. Coffman and his colleagues are deeply concerned the President's plan will lock up a majority of the Outer Continental Shelf from oil and gas drilling and implement a de facto two year moratorium by delaying action on a new five-year leasing agreement.
In the letter, Coffman and his colleagues wrote, "In these difficult economic times of nearly 10 percent unemployment and with the nation experiencing rising gasoline prices, it's critical that the committee act to examine the Administration's actions and their impact on new job creation."
The President's plan only included two lease sales, for Virginia and Cook Inlet, delaying both until 2011 while putting 13.14 billion barrels of oil and 41.49 trillion cubic feet of natural gas under lock and key. The letter, signed by all 20 Republicans on the House Natural Resources Committee, requests that Department of the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, White House Advisor Carol Browner, and Mineral Management Service Director Elizabeth Birnbaum testify.
"Oil is nearing $90 a barrel, the cost of gasoline continues to rise, and unemployment is stagnant at nearly 10 percent. We need to be putting Americans to work and exploring domestic sources of energy. This plan is dangerously flawed and the American people deserve for this Administration to justify their plans," Coffman remarked.