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Hearing of the House Energy and Mineral Resources of the Natural Resources Committee - H.R. 2231, the Offshore Energy and Jobs Act


Location: Washington, DC

Late last June, the Obama administration had the tremendous opportunity for the first time in more than a generation to open new areas of the OCS for oil and gas drilling. Available to them for the first time since 1982, was the opportunity to access billions of barrels of oil that had been held closed under lock and key for decades. Unfortunately, their proposed final five year offshore leasing plan for 2012-2017 to Congress closed off 85% of our OCS regions, allowed NO new development in the OCS and dashed the hopes and economic opportunity for the people of states like Virginia. The Obama plan put forward the lowest number of lease sales since the Carter Administration.

The plan provided the American people with more of the same - drilling only in the Gulf of Mexico, and areas off the coast of Alaska, however the plan only dubbed these sales as "potential sales" ... leaving some question as to whether or not the Administration would even follow through. And, let's be honest, one thing this Administration knows how to do is cancel lease sales.

Nearly one year later, we are here today to once again attempt to change the course upon which this Administration has set our nation and our energy future. Last week, the Energy Information Administration issued their report for energy production on federal lands for fiscal year 2012 - it is no surprise that the sale of crude on federal lands decreased 5 percent in 2012 - with an 8 percent decrease in federal OFFSHORE volumes.

When we see oil and gas production declining in the federal OCS, we must turn the corner to keep the United States competitive, especially as other countries begin to develop their own deep water resources. The predominant way we can do this is by fostering energy development in new areas. Chairman Hastings bill, the Offshore Energy and Jobs Act, will move our nation forward to open up access to new areas to thousands of new jobs and more American energy. While some revenue sharing bills have sought to provide coastal states with a revenue sharing scheme unequal to the four Gulf States, the Chairman's bill provides parity to all coastal states, allowing them a share of the revenues equivalent to the 37.5% that the four Gulf States currently enjoy. The bill also includes several much-needed reforms that this administration has requested, including organic legislation to codify the reorganization of the former Minerals Management Service.

While this Administration seems content with the status quo, the Chairman's legislation is about making the right choices now to foster new access and new energy in the future - not five years from now in drafting the next plan, not ten years from now, but right now. We cannot keep ignoring the vast resources potential of the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf. The time to be bold is now, and I applaud the Chairman's legislation and look forward to hearing from our witnesses. Thank you.

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