Congressman John Kline supported legislation today that would boost job creation and increase America's energy independence by removing red tape and bureaucratic delays that are blocking offshore energy production. The "Jobs and Energy Permitting Act of 2011," which passed the U.S. House of Representatives today, would eliminate needless permitting delays that have stalled important energy production opportunities off the coast of Alaska.
"Hard-working Minnesotans deserve stable energy prices," said Kline, who later this summer plans on leading an energy tour showing Minnesota's rich diversity of energy sources that can help create jobs and increase America's energy independence. "This legislation will open access to vital fuel resources and help create new jobs."
The Jobs and Energy Act aims to eliminate uncertainty and confusion under the Clean Air Act that has delayed oil exploration in the Alaskan Outer Continental Shelf -- a region estimated to contain up to 30 billion barrels of oil and 122 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Some delays have lasted for years at a cost of billions of dollars to the private sector. While the EPA's regional office has granted air permits to allow offshore drilling, the process has repeatedly been stalled at the agency's Environmental Appeals Board. The proposed legislation would make three technical clarifications to the Clean Air Act and require EPA to take final action -- either granting or denying a permit -- within six months.
Kline and House Republicans are actively working to increase American energy production in order to lower gasoline prices; create American jobs; generate revenue to help reduce the debt and deficit; and strengthen our national security by decreasing our dependence on foreign energy. Energy legislation introduced this year by Kline and House Republican colleagues could create 250,000 jobs short-term and 1.2 million jobs long-term, according to Louisiana State University's Joseph Mason. Those job-creating "All of the Above" energy solutions include:
* H.R. 1230, the Restarting American Offshore Leasing Now Act, expands American energy production and creates jobs by requiring the Secretary of the Interior to conduct oil and natural gas lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico and offshore Virginia that have been delayed or cancelled by the Obama Administration.
* H.R. 1229, the Putting the Gulf Back to Work Act, will end the Obama Administration's de facto drilling moratorium in a safe, responsible, transparent manner -- putting thousands of Americans back to work and increasing American energy production to help address rising gasoline prices.
* H.R. 1231, 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.
In his fifth term in Congress, Congressman Kline is the Chairman of the Education and the Workforce Committee. He also serves on the House Armed Services Committee.