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Mrs. BLACKBURN. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman for yielding time.
It was just last month that the administration announced its proposed final lease plan for developing the U.S. offshore energy resources for the next 5 years, 2012-2017. There was a lot of anticipation about this. We thought that finally the administration would hear the calls that have come from this House saying we need to increase our American energy supply and we need to create jobs, but we were disappointed. Our calls for relief obviously fell on deaf ears.
Instead of opening up 98 percent of the U.S. offshore, which is currently unleased for energy exploration, the President's plan will make the situation worse by closing 85 percent of our offshore areas to energy production. I think that's significant.
You have to ask the question: What do you really want? If you want energy independence, open it up. Let's explore for these sources.
To put that into context, I think what we need to do is look at this President's plan and compare it to previous Presidents. And, Mr. Chairman, what we find is that this President's plan offers fewer offshore drilling leases than former President Jimmy Carter had offered. The President's plan also ignores the economic struggles that are facing our country, and it really does not move us toward energy independence.
What it does do is it moves us a step backwards. We are heading in the wrong direction on this issue, and it reimposes a drilling moratorium that had been lifted in 2008, a moratorium that the gulf coast still has not recovered from. And I think that we need to look at that and consider those jobs in our coastal regions.
In stark contrast to the President's plan, H.R. 6082 proposes a drill smart job creation plan that expands offshore drilling and opens new areas containing the most oil and natural gas resources. I encourage my colleagues to support this plan.
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