Reversing President Obama’s Offshore Moratorium Act (H.R. 1231)
Status: Passed the House on May 12, 2011 with a bipartisan vote of 243 to 179. Awaits consideration by the Senate.
March 29, 2011 -
The Reversing President Obama’s Offshore Moratorium Act will lift the President’s ban on new offshore drilling by requiring the Administration to move forward on American energy production in areas containing the most oil and natural gas resources.
In 2008, in response to record-high gasoline prices, both Congress and the President acted to end the decades-long bans on offshore drilling – opening new areas off the Atlantic Coast and the Pacific Coast. Since President Obama took office, he has systematically taken steps to re-impose an offshore drilling moratorium. He first abandoned the (2010-2015) leasing plan that would have allowed for drilling in these newly opened areas. He postponed and cancelled previously scheduled lease sales. He later announced a restrictive drilling plan that placed the Pacific, the Atlantic and the Eastern Gulf off-limits to future energy production – the way it was before the record high gasoline prices of 2008.
Specifically, the Reversing President Obama’s Offshore Moratorium Act will:
Require that each five-year offshore leasing plan include lease sales in the areas containing the greatest known oil and natural gas reserves. For the 2012-2017 plan being written by the Obama Administration, the areas with the greatest known reserves are specifically defined as those estimated to contain 2.5 billion barrels of oil or 7.5 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. At least 50 percent of those areas must be made available for leasing in the 2012-2017 plan. Currently, the Obama Administration’s 2012-2017 draft plan includes no new leasing and drilling, only possible future lease sales in the Gulf. The requirements to lease in these most prospective offshore areas reverses the Administration’s effective moratorium on opening new areas.
A state’s Governor may request to opt-in to a five-year leasing plan and the Secretary of Interior will include a lease sale, or sales, of the state’s offshore area in the plan.
Require the Secretary to establish a production goal when writing a five-year plan. The goal will be the specific amount of oil and natural gas production that is estimated to result from leases made under the plan. Establishes the production goal for the 2012-2017 plan being written by the Obama Administration at 3 million barrels of oil per day and 10 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day by 2027. This 2012-2027 time encompasses the fifteen year period of the five-year plan and resulting ten-year leases made under that plan. By comparison to today’s levels, this increase in oil equates to a tripling of current American offshore production and would reduce foreign imports by nearly one-third.
H.R. 1229, 1230 and 1231 could create 250,000 jobs short-term and 1.2 million jobs long-term according to Dr. Joseph Mason, economist and professor at Louisiana State University.
President Obama’s Offshore Moratorium on New Drilling
The Obama Administration has moved our country backwards in terms of offshore energy production. In 2008, in response to record-high gasoline prices, Congress and the President acted to end the decades-long bans on offshore drilling – opening new areas off the Atlantic Coast and the Pacific Coast.
When President Obama took office, these offshore areas were open for energy production. Since that time, President Obama has systematically taken steps to effectively re-impose an offshore drilling ban.
In March 2010, he abandoned the 2010-2015 leasing plan and announced a delay to the scheduled lease sales in offshore Virginia and in the Gulf of Mexico.
In December 2010, the President announced an even more restrictive offshore drilling plan that placed the entire Pacific Coast, the entire Atlantic Coast, the Eastern Gulf of Mexico and much of Alaska off-limits to future energy production – as they were before the record gasoline prices in 2008.
The President’s actions have placed some of the most promising shallow water resources in the world off-limits and pushed domestic oil development into a smaller fraction of the Gulf of Mexico and into deeper water. The lease sale off the coast of Virginia, originally scheduled to take place in 2011, was put on hold until after 2017.
Failure to develop our offshore energy resources is costing American jobs, hurting our economy and denying American taxpayers revenue to help pay down the national debt. According to the American Energy Alliance, permanently lifting the offshore moratoria would result in 1.2 million U.S. jobs, $8 trillion in additional economic output (GDP), $2.2 trillion in total tax receipts, and $70 billion in additional wages each year.
President Obama has taken our offshore energy policies back to the days of 2008 when gasoline prices were over $4 per gallon. He has imposed a drill nowhere new policy that has cost jobs, forfeited revenue and denied access to American energy that would lessen our dependence on foreign sources of energy. The following maps show how the Obama Administration has blocked access to our offshore energy resources.
When the moratoria were lifted in 2008, all of the Atlantic Coast, Pacific Coast and areas in Alaska were opened for new offshore drilling. This is how it looked when President Obama took office in January 2009.
President Obama has effectively reinstated the ban on new offshore drilling - placing all the Atlantic Coast, all of the Pacific Coast, the Eastern Gulf of Mexico and parts of Alaska off-limits to new offshore drilling.
The Reversing President Obama’s Offshore Moratorium Act would implement a smart drilling plan. It moves forward with offshore drilling in areas containing the most oil and natural gas. Other areas would still be open for drilling if the President chooses to include them in a five-year leasing plan or there is a specific request from a state governor.
The Restarting American Offshore Leasing Now Act would require lease sales that were canceled or delayed by the Obama Administration to occur in the Gulf of Mexico and offshore Virginia.
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