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Smith: Democrats' Capitulation on Drilling Signals Important Victory

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

Congressman Lamar Smith today applauded the news that the renewal of the 26-year moratorium on offshore and oil shale energy production will be dropped from a stopgap spending bill to fund the federal government, according to House Appropriations Committee Chair David Obey.

"The American people have spoken and it's having an impact," said Smith. "This is long overdue, but it's a critical first step towards American energy independence. The Democratic majority is finally facing the fact the vast majority of Americans want more American energy. And the majority knows that continued attempts to ignore the will of the people will not be successful."

House Republicans have fought for months to lift the outdated bans on American energy production, and the capitulation by Democrats today is a victory for Americans struggling with record gasoline prices. Republicans are pushing for an "all of the above" energy plan that increases production of American energy in an environmentally-responsible way to help reduce gas prices. Congressional Democrats, lead by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, have blocked all such efforts.

"This is only the beginning of fulfilling the desires of the American People," said Smith. "Although the Democratic Majority will allow these bans to expire, they are still blocking debate and a vote on the kind of energy plan favored by two-thirds of Americans."

Smith is an original cosponsor of the American Energy Act (H.R. 6566), an "all of the above" plan to lower gas prices by encouraging more conservation and efficiency, promoting the use of alterative and renewable fuels, and expanding drilling on remote lands and far off American shores in an environmentally-safe way.

The bill will create a renewable energy trust fund that would be financed through revenues from drilling from several energy-rich locations in Alaska and far offshore and includes critical revenue-sharing provisions that gives states the incentive to allow such job-creating energy production.

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