Montana's Congressman, Denny Rehberg, today joined the House in passing legislation to increase domestic energy production, create jobs and lower prices. H.R. 1229, the Putting the Gulf of Mexico Back to Work Act, ends the de facto moratorium on offshore energy exploration that has been imposed by the Obama Administration. This, in turn, will put thousands of Americans back to work increasing American energy production and lowering gas prices.
"It's time to put an end to the bureaucratic games that are costing us jobs and increasing the cost of energy," said Rehberg, who sits on the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water. "The Department of Interior has effectively choked off production by sitting on the required permits indefinitely. So while the moratorium is over, the permitorium is still going strong. And it's devastating our national economy."
If passed by the Senate and signed by the President, H.R. 1229 would establish a deadline of 30 days for the Secretary of the Interior to act on a permit to drill. It does not require that permits be approved, but it ends the current practice of deliberate inaction by the Obama Administration, which is keeping thousands of Americans out of work. If necessary, two 15-day extension periods can be sought on decisions.
The law also requires lease holders to apply for and receive a permit to drill before drilling an offshore well in the Gulf of Mexico or any offshore drilling site in federal waters. Currently such a permit is not required by federal law, only by regulation. The Secretary of the Interior will be required to conduct safety reviews to ensure that proposed drilling operations "meet all critical safety system requirements, including blowout prevention, and oil spill response and containment requirements."
Independent analysis from Louisiana State University indicates that this legislation impacts 36,137 jobs nationwide, including 24,532 jobs in the Gulf Coast region alone.
"It's time to put Americans back to work developing American energy." said Rehberg.
Last week, the House Passed H.R. 1230, the Restarting American Offshore Leasing Now Act, which requires the Department of the Interior to auction offshore oil and gas leases in the Gulf of Mexico and off the coast of Virginia.