U.S. Rep. Martha Roby made the following comments today regarding news reports that an additional 38 million acres of the central Gulf of Mexico will be open to leasing:
"The executive branch has moved too slowly in recent years to allow new energy exploration in the Gulf of Mexico, but today's announcement by the Interior Department is a much-needed step in the right direction. Experts estimate that these 38 million acres in the central Gulf of Mexico are home to one billion barrels of oil and four trillion cubic feet of natural gas. In addition to helping stabilize gas prices for working families and small businesses, environmentally safe production of these resources will create new American jobs on the energy coast.
"Gulf states, in particular, could benefit from this lease sale. Under a law passed in 2006, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas are eligible to receive 37.5 percent of the initial payment and royalties resulting from many nearby leases in the Gulf. The state of Alabama, for example, can then reinvest those funds into costal restoration and onshore infrastructure projects.
"Today's announcement is consistent with an "all of the above' approach to our nation's energy problem. I hope that President Obama will build on this news by reconsidering his recent rejection of the Keystone XL Pipeline, an important infrastructure project that would have increased energy supplies in America and created tens-of-thousands of American jobs."