U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL), a senior member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, introduced legislation this week to replace the administration's 5-year plan for energy production and leasing on the outer continental shelf with a 5-year plan that is more in line with the energy and economic needs of Alabama and the country at large. Following the introduction of this bill, Sen. Sessions commented on the need for a pro-worker energy policy:
"America is sitting on vast resources of untapped energy. These resources--many of which exist in our nation's offshore areas--belong to the American people and yet remained locked away. This bill would put these resources to use, creating countless good-paying jobs and generating wealth at home instead of sending it overseas. It will also keep down the cost of energy and strengthen our competitiveness. This is part of a broader effort to defend domestic manufacturing and industry, US workers and their families."
The Sessions-Vitter-Cornyn bill, which would unlock vast areas of the nation's offshore energy resources, would be a positive step toward greater energy security and economic growth in the United States. According to the Institute for Energy Research, the federal government controls more than 1.7 billion acres of offshore areas and, currently, the federal government leases just 2 percent of federal offshore areas for oil and natural gas production.
This bill would essentially restore the bipartisan 5-year plan, introduced in 2008, which would allow for offshore leasing and open up areas in the Gulf, the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans as well as Alaska, for energy production, generating jobs and reducing our federal deficit. Last year, Senator Sessions introduced identical legislation with Senator Vitter.
In February 2012, Senator Sessions sent a letter to President Obama outlining urgent energy policies that would combat rising gas prices, America's trade imbalance, and high unemployment.
In his efforts to promote a pro-worker US energy policy, Senator Sessions also joined a bipartisan group of Senators last week urging the immediate approval of the Keystone XL pipeline.