Energy prices are once again dominating kitchen table conversations across the country - with families facing tough decisions as more of their hard-earned paychecks go towards feeding the pump.
While these astronomical prices are most notable on the five foot signs outside of every gas station across America, they are also notorious for affecting normal day-to-day activities and the price of consumer goods. Back in Mississippi, concerned citizens are asking, how am I going to continue driving to work or taking my kids to school, soccer practice and piano lessons when it puts such a huge dent in my budget? Most of all they are asking, when will gas prices go down and what do we have to do to keep them low?
The continued stalling of energy production by this Administration is preventing Americans from finding relief at the pump. Since taking office, President Obama has actively delayed, blocked and stalled American energy production. The American people are sick of the stalling tactics and that is why House Republicans are concentrating on three key initiatives that will reverse the Obama Administration's policies that are hurting families, destroying jobs and increasing our reliance on foreign oil.
Last week the House passed The Restarting American Offshore Leasing Now Act, which requires the Secretary of the Interior to conduct oil and natural gas lease sales in the Gulf and offshore Virginia that have been delayed or canceled by the Obama Administration. This week the House focuses on The Putting the Gulf Back to Work Act and The Reversing President Obama's Moratorium Act.
In May 2010, President Obama put a moratorium on drilling permits in the Gulf. The ban was officially lifted in October 2010; however, the Obama Administration has chosen to drag their feet and stall the permitting process. This stalling tactic is costing Americans jobs. In fact, reports indicate that if the Obama Administration's de facto moratorium is sustained for 18 months, it will cost the United States over 36,000 jobs -- 24,532 of those in the Gulf. Twelve rigs have already left the Gulf for other regions, taking hundreds, even thousands of jobs with them.
The Administration's stalling efforts are also causing a significant decline in American energy with production in the Gulf expected to fall by 240,000 barrels per day in 2011.
The Putting the Gulf Back to Work Act sets a firm 30 day timeline for the Secretary of the Interior to act on drilling permits and restarts permits that were approved prior to the moratorium imposed in May 2010.
When President Obama took office, the Atlantic Coast, Pacific Coast and areas in Alaska were open for new offshore drilling. Now, the President's actions have placed the entire region off-limits and blocked access to some of the most promising shallow water resources.
The Reversing President Obama's Offshore Moratorium Act will implement a smart drilling plan by requiring the Administration to move forward on American energy production in areas containing the most oil and natural gas resources.
All three energy bills combined could create 250,000 jobs short-term and 1.2 million jobs long-term. By putting the Gulf back to work and expanding offshore drilling, we will keep and create good jobs in America.
Finally, this is about America's energy security. As a member of the House Energy Action Team (HEAT), I am committed to promoting policies that will strengthen our national security by decreasing our dependence on foreign energy. America will continue to face problems as long as we rely on our enemies for our needs. House Republicans know that our energy security will only come through an all-of-the-above approach, including more American oil, natural gas, clean coal, nuclear energy and new technologies such as wind and solar power.
America - we are listening and focusing on long term goals to get more American energy out of the ground. Robust domestic energy production, free from the Obama Administration's stalling games, will put an end to the gas prices that are straining budgets and compromising our energy security.