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House Passes Bipartisan Bill to Put the Gulf Back to Work, Increase American Energy Production
H.R. 1229 Ends Obama Administration’s De Facto Offshore Drilling Moratorium in Gulf of Mexico

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 11, 2011 - Today, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 1229, the Putting the Gulf Back to Work Act, with a bipartisan vote of 263 to 163. Introduced by Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings, H.R. 1229 will end the Obama Administration’s de facto drilling moratorium in a safe, responsible, transparent manner – putting thousands of Americans back to work and increasing American energy production to help address rising gasoline prices.

“This bill will provide relief to the people of the Gulf of Mexico by allowing them to finally return to work following the Obama Administration’s intentional slow-walking of drilling permits,” said Chairman Hastings. “With passage of this bill, House Republicans are sending a strong signal that we will not sit idly by while the Obama Administration sidelines American workers, sends American jobs overseas and continues to lock-up our American energy resources at a time of rising gasoline prices. I applaud the House for passing the Putting the Gulf back to Work Act and hope the Senate follows our lead to ease the economic pain in the Gulf of Mexico and help reduce gasoline prices across the country.”

This week, the House will also vote on Chairman Hastings’ third offshore drilling bill, H.R. 1231, the Reversing President Obama’s Offshore Moratorium Act.

H.R. 1229, the Putting the Gulf Back to Work Act:

  • Improves safety by reforming current law to 1) require lease holders to receive an approved permit to drill before drilling an offshore well and 2) require the Secretary of the Interior to conduct a safety review.
  • Sets a firm 30 day timeline (with two 15 day extensions) for the Secretary to act on a permit to drill. This simply requires the Secretary to act within the set period of time – it is not a requirement that permits be approved. This firm timeline will make certain that the Obama Administration cannot impose a moratorium through deliberate inaction.
  • Provides 30 days, with no extension, for the Secretary to restart Gulf permits that were approved before the Administration’s moratorium was imposed on May 27, 2010. If the Secretary fails to act, the leases will be put into suspension (the clock stops ticking on the time-limited lease) until a decision is made.
  • Establishes an expedited judicial review process for resolving lawsuits relating to Gulf permits. This reform ensures that ending the de facto moratorium imposed by the Obama Administration isn’t replaced by paralyzing, frivolous lawsuits that could take years to resolve.

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Contact: Jill Strait, Spencer Pederson or Crystal Feldman 202-226-9019

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