This week, the House passed H.R. 6082, the Congressional Replacement of President Obama's Energy-Restricting and Job-Limiting Offshore Drilling Plan. The legislation would open additional areas for oil and gas development, including the waters off the South Carolina, mid-Atlantic, Alaska, and California shores. Congressman Westmoreland supported the legislation.
"H.R. 6082 will increase American-made energy production, help lower the price of a gallon of gas, and create jobs," stated Westmoreland. "It's a win-win-win bill. And it had support on both sides of the aisle. On top of all of that, it's expected to bring in about $600 million in revenues. This is a great bill that the states want and that we need to get passed through the Senate and have the president sign it into law."
The bill is in response to President Obama's proposed five-year offshore leasing plan that he is required to submit to Congress. The president's plan closes 85 percent of the country's offshore energy production and keeps new unexplored areas closed. In fact, the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service (CRS) reports the 15 lease sales the president's plan represents is the lowest number of lease sales ever offered since this process began in 1980 under the Outer Continental Shelf Leasing Act.
"Right now, gas prices and unemployment are high," stated Westmoreland. "So we need an energy strategy that increases oil and gas production and creates jobs. The president's plan does just the opposite. It closes offshore drilling areas that were open under previous administrations and bars exploration on new areas. It's a joke. Especially after he told the country in his State of the Union address earlier this year that he supports an all-of-the-above energy strategy. Well, actions speak louder than words Mr. President. The House has now passed an energy bill that will truly work towards making this country energy independent.
The president submitted his plan on June 28th. The legislation passed with bipartisan support, but it is unlikely Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will allow it to be brought to the floor for an up-or-down vote. However, Congressman Westmoreland strongly encourages him to do so.