Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler voted today in favor of the "Putting the Gulf Back to Work Act," one of three bills under consideration in Congress over the last week that will expand domestic energy production. Specifically, the "Putting the Gulf Back to Work Act" would speed up the permitting process in the Gulf by setting a firm timeline for considering previously approved permits.
The bill improves safety by requiring lease holders to receive an approved permit before proceeding with an offshore well, and requires the Secretary of the Interior (Secretary) to conduct a safety review. It does not require that permits be approved -- it simply requires the Secretary to process the permits within a set period of time.
A continued informal moratorium on energy exploration caused by deliberate federal inaction could cost more than 36,000 jobs nationwide, according to a study by Dr. Joseph Mason from Louisiana State University. The halt of energy production in the Gulf of Mexico is costing the United States $4.7 million a day in lost revenue (National Center for Policy Analysis).
The desire to expand domestic energy exploration isn't partisan. Former Democrat Member of Congress Harold Ford, Jr. (TN) opined in today's Wall Street Journal that, "We won't achieve energy security by restricting our own companies from drilling."
"Folks in Southwest Washington are hurting from the high prices of gas and energy, and this bill will provide them with relief," said Herrera Beutler. "This is an American energy bill. It increases our American supply of energy and promotes job creation in America by lowering energy prices. We have to confront the rising price of energy head-on, before it costs us any more jobs."