In this morning' s hearing, we will hear from the Directors of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement regarding their funding requests for Fiscal Year 2013. We want to make sure that the funding needs of these two agencies are met to ensure that the United States maintains the safest offshore energy development practices in the world. Republicans have held up our end of the deal by providing record increases for these agencies. However, there is a strong expectation that these agencies are held accountable for this spending both to ensure safety and to promote timely permitting and leasing.
This Subcommittee has held many hearings on the after-effects of the Deepwater Horizon explosion and subsequent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Production in the Gulf of Mexico is essential to our nation's energy security - accounting for 29 percent of total U.S. crude production and 12 percent of total U.S . natural gas production. The thousands of businesses throughout the Gul f and nationwide that support this industry still struggle to stay afloat as a result of President Obama's moratorium and the subsequent pennitorium.
In fact, a study put forward by Greater New Orleans, Inc. earlier this month estimates that of the Gulf businesses they surveyed:
41 % said they were not making a profit;
50% said they have laid of employees as a result of the moratorium; and
82% said they have lost personal savings as a result of the permit slowdown.
On our second panel, we will hear from some of these stakeholders in the Gulf of Mexico, as well as review an analysis that shows that the pace of permitting is still well below historical averages.
So when I say that BOEM and BSEE must be held accountable, I mean that I want to know that these agencies will use their taxpayer dollars efficiently to tackle these challenges. After all, oil and natural gas are America's resources, they help us create jobs-and reduce our dependence on foreign oil. This hearing will help us focus on the budget requests of these agencies, and make sure that BOEM and BSEE are doing their best to keep our nation's offshore energy production moving forward in a safe, responsible and timely manner.