House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (WA-04) released the following statement after the Obama Administration issued the 2012-2017 offshore lease plan that closes 85 percent of America's offshore areas to energy production.
"The Obama Administration has neglected their duty to provide a roadmap for America's offshore energy future by tossing aside a plan to expand production and failing to produce a plan of their own for three and a half years. Today, the Obama Administration has announced a bleak future for American energy production by keeping 85 percent of America's offshore areas under lock and key and refusing to open any new areas to drilling. This plan re-imposes the drilling moratoria lifted in 2008, hurts job creation and keeps new areas of American energy production sidelined.
"Because of this Administration's actions, people are worse off today than they were three and a half years ago. Today's news only hamstrings job creation, energy production and the economy for another five years. President Obama simply cannot be taken seriously when his energy and job creation rhetoric do not match up with the reality of his actions. There is far too great of potential to put people back to work, improve the economy and make American more energy independent for President Obama to ignore America's vast offshore energy resources.
"House Republicans have passed a bipartisan plan to create over a million jobs by opening the offshore areas that contain the most oil and natural gas resources to energy production. Yet, the Obama Administration opposed the plan and the Democrat-controlled Senate has refused to act on this common sense job creation bill. It's extremely disappointing that the Obama Administration continues to have such a narrow vision for American energy production."
Offshore drilling plans are subject to multiple levels of public comment and review. This plan is not considered final and enacted into law until it undergoes a mandatory 60-day Congressional review, per Section 18 of the Outer Continental Shelf Leasing Act.
In order to complete all the legally required steps to have a new plan in place by July 1st, the President would have had to submit his plan to Congress by May 1st. This will be the first time the U.S. will not have a plan in place since it became a requirement in the 1970s.