U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-9) continued his efforts to increase production of American energy resources by voting for the Putting the Gulf Back to Work Act and the Reversing President Obama's Offshore Moratorium Act that effectively end the Obama administration's de facto moratorium in the Gulf of Mexico.
"Our economy is weak, and the threat of even higher gas prices will only add to the hardships facing American families and small businesses," Luetkemeyer said. "I will continue to support efforts that increase the exploration and production of our nation's natural resources in an effort to lower gasoline prices, create American jobs, generate revenue to help reduce the debt and deficit, and strengthen our national security."
The Putting the Gulf Back to Work Act would end the de facto drilling ban in the Gulf of Mexico that has been in place since last year. According to the administration's own estimates, the self-imposed moratorium has resulted in 12,000 lost jobs. Rigs are actively leaving the Gulf of Mexico for foreign countries like Cuba, Brazil, and Mexico, and production in the Gulf has declined by nearly 240,000 barrels a day. Specifically, the Act would: improve safety by reforming current law to require lease holders to receive an approved permit before drilling; require the Interior Secretary to conduct safety reviews of offshore wells; set a 30 day timeline with the possibility for extensions for the Interior Secretary to act on a drilling permit application; provide 30 days for the Interior Secretary to restart Gulf of Mexico permits that were approved before the self-imposed Obama moratorium; and create an expedited judicial review process for lawsuits relating to drilling permits.
The Reversing President Obama's Offshore Moratorium Act will lift the president's ban on new offshore drilling by requiring the administration to move forward on American energy production in areas containing the most oil and natural gas resources. This Act requires that each five-year offshore leasing plan include lease sales in the areas containing the greatest known oil and natural gas reserves. In the 2012-2017 plan being drafted by the Obama administration, areas with the greatest known reserves are specifically defined as those estimated to contain 2.5 billion barrels of oil or 7.5 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. At least 50 percent of those areas must be made available for leasing in the 2012-2017 plan. Currently, the president's draft plan includes no new leasing and drilling, only possible future lease sales in the Gulf. This Act effectively reverses the administration's self-imposed moratorium on opening new areas to American energy production.
The Reversing President Obama's Offshore Moratorium Act also requires the Interior Secretary to establish a production goal when writing a five-year plan. The goal will be the specific amount of oil and natural gas production that is estimated to result from leases made under the plan. This legislation establishes the production goal for the 2012-2017 draft plan at 3 million barrels of oil per day and 10 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day by 2027. This fifteen year period of the five-year plan and resulting ten-year leases made under that plan and will triple the current American offshore production and would reduce foreign imports by nearly one-third.