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Gas Prices Rise as Obama Administration Continues to Block New Offshore Energy Projects

WASHINGTON, D.C., August 14, 2012 - Americans continue to face rising prices at the pump that are expected to climb even higher this year, according to the AAA report released Monday. Gasoline prices increased 18 cents this month and eight cents this past week alone. As of August 9, gasoline prices have exceeded prices on the same day last year and continue upward. As families struggle with rising energy expenses, the Obama Administration continues to block new offshore energy projects that would increase domestic production and help drive down costs.

David Holt recently wrote an article for FuelFix discussing the Obama Administration’s hold up of Shell’s drilling operations in the Arctic. Shell Oil and Gas Company still hopes to drill exploratory wells off the coast of Alaska despite excessive government red tape delaying its efforts. After seven years of planning and more than $4 billion in spending on leases, permits and studies, the company has seen its July 1 target start date come and go as permits from the Interior Department, Environmental Protection Agency and the Coast Guard continue to be held up in the permitting process. Though its original plan included drilling five exploratory wells, Shell has already had to reduce its efforts to two wells while it continues to await approval during this short 4-month drilling season.

As permitting delays continue, key federal agencies haven’t stopped Greenpeace activists from disrupting the region with a 237-foot ice-cutter, two submarines, and a drone, as discussed by a recent article in Human Events by Audrey Hudson. The activists have yet to be required to undergo the permitting process to protest, despite the potential for creating hazardous working conditions and disrupting marine life. Recently, House Natural Resources Chairman Doc Hastings and Senator Lisa Murkowski sent letters to the National Ocean and Atmospheric Association and the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement insisting that appropriate action be taken to ensure safe operations and to inquire about the activists’ failure to obtain protesting and vessel operating permits.

These are just the latest examples of how the Obama Administration continues to stall new offshore energy production and block the creation of thousands of jobs. Earlier this year, the President announced a proposed offshore lease plan for 2012-2017 that keeps over 85 percent of our offshore areas off-limits to American energy production. In response, the House passed H.R. 6082, the “Congressional Replacement of President Obama’s Energy-Restricting and Job-Limiting Offshore Drilling Plan.” This drill-smart plan offers 29 lease sales in areas known to contain the most oil and natural gas resources, including opening up drilling opportunities off the coast of northern Alaska in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas – the same region where Shell’s exploratory efforts are being inhibited. This bill awaits action in the Senate.

To read more about H.R. 6082, click here.

To read more about the letters from Chairman Hastings and Senator Murkowski, click here.

Contact: Maeve McKenna

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