House GOP Throws Down the Gauntlet on Energy

It’s a battle that’s been a long time coming. We’ve watched for at least the last year while the President and his enablers have essentially shut down various elements of domestic energy production, first through a moratorium and then through a permitorium. And judging by reader responses here there has also been a palpable sense of frustration with Congress and their seeming inability break this impasse. The time may finally be at hand when you won’t have to wait any longer.

Yesterday Hot Air was invited to sit in on a call with Congressmen Doc Hastings (chairman of the Natural Resources Committee) and Chief Deputy Whip Peter Roskam. The subject of the discussion was three bills being brought to the floor which may, if we can muster the support required, finally break the log jam.

They are:
H.R. 1229 Putting the Gulf of Mexico Back to Work Act. To amend the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to facilitate the safe and timely production of American energy resources from the Gulf of Mexico.

H.R. 1230 Restarting American Offshore Leasing Now Act. To require the Secretary of the Interior to conduct certain offshore oil and gas lease sales, and for other purposes.

H.R. 1231 Reversing President Obama’s Offshore Moratorium Act. To amend the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to require that each 5-year offshore oil and gas leasing program offer leasing in the areas with the most prospective oil and gas resources, to establish a domestic oil and natural gas production goal, and for other purposes.

We can’t expect much more of an “in your face” approach to the problem out of Congress than this, and it’s high time for it indeed. Just to cut through the required legislative jargon, these three bills would produce, among other items, two significant results in the critical areas of concern:

  • First, petitioners seeking drilling permits would be required by law to receive an answer to their request within thirty days. (For complex requests, two extension periods would be offered.) This gives them a fair opportunity to find out if they are in compliance with all regulations in a timely fashion, and if denied, be told specifically what needs to be done to reach compliance and get their permits.
  • Second, at the rate we’re currently going this could be the first time in a generation when the government did not offer a sale of leases for energy exploration. This legislative effort will ensure that new leases are made available. Further, we’re going to make sure that energy exploration is targeted to areas known to have the highest potential for actually producing. (Gee, that was complicated, wasn’t it?)

When we contacted the office of the House Committee on Natural Resources yesterday they provided Hot Air with the following statement, further clarifying what we can expect.

Today, the House will vote on legislation to expand offshore American energy production in a safe and responsible way. Part of the House Republicans’ American Energy Initiative, the Restarting American Offshore Leasing Now Act will create jobs, lower gasoline prices and generate new revenue by requiring offshore lease sales that were canceled by the Obama Administration. This is just one of several bills to be voted on in May that will boost our economy and reduce our dependency on unstable foreign countries.

For even more analysis, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell has an op-ed up this week stressing the importance of these pieces of legislation which you should take a look at.

America’s energy future must be made more secure and must focus on domestic energy resources. Providing the leadership and guidance America needs at this time will calm markets. It would also reassure Americans that there is a vision and plan for America to become energy independent and not have our energy prices defined by the stability of Middle Eastern dictatorships, revolutions or armed conflicts.

I know we give Congress a lot of grief at times, and some of it well deserved. But when they step up to the plate and do the right thing they deserve our support. This would be a good time to take to the phones and see this process through. Even Democrats in Congress are feeling the pressure from unemployed constituents who will soon be paying five dollars per gallon for gasoline, and the President can’t be unaware of it. It’s time to call them out on it and essentially dare them to block these bills from becoming law. I, for one, don’t think they’ll take us up on that dare.