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Press Release

Committee to Markup Plan to Replace President Obama's Energy-Restricting and Job-Limiting Offshore Drilling Plan

Action will occur during 60-day period for Congressional review provided by law

House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (WA-04) today unveiled draft legislation, H.R. 6082, the Congressional Replacement of President Obama’s Energy-Restricting and Job-Limiting Offshore Drilling Plan, to implement a new lease plan for developing the United States’ offshore energy resources over the next five years. A Full Committee markup of the bill will be held on Wednesday, July 11th July 18th.

The bill includes a plan that would replace the Obama Administration’s final offshore drilling plan, announced on June 28th, which keeps 85 percent of America’s offshore areas off-limits to energy production. Under current law (Section 18 of the Outer Continental Shelf Leasing Act), President Obama’s proposed plan does not become final and in effect until it undergoes a mandatory 60-day Congressional review:

“At least sixty days prior to approving a proposed leasing program, the Secretary shall submit it to the President and the Congress, together with any comments received. Such submission shall indicate why any specific recommendation of the Attorney General or a State or local government was not accepted.”

Interior Secretary Salazar delivered the President’s plan for Congressional review on June 28th. Over the past several months, the Natural Resources Committee has held multiple hearings on the President’s proposed 2012-2017 offshore lease plan. Now, as part of the law’s mandatory 60-day review by Congress, House Republicans will make clear that the President’s plan is unacceptable and will replace it with an environmentally responsible plan that truly supports increased American energy and American jobs.

“President Obama’s rewritten offshore plan represents a giant step backwards for American offshore energy production and a giant lost opportunity to create over a million new American jobs. The Obama plan closes off 85% of America’s offshore resources and effectively reimposes the drilling moratoria lifted by Congress and President Bush in 2008 when gas prices set record highs. Under the law, Congress has 60 days to review President Obama’s plan before it takes effect. The legislation that the Committee will act on would replace the energy-restricting and job-limiting Obama plan with a responsible, robust offshore drilling plan that will create new jobs by safely opening new areas known to possess the greatest offshore energy resources,” said Chairman Hastings. “The replacement plan specifically provides for opening offshore Virginia to drilling, with the first of several lease sales starting in 2013. President Obama cancelled a lease sale off Virginia scheduled for 2011 and the President’s plan doesn’t allow energy production off Virginia until 2017 or later.”

When President Obama took office, there was a plan in place to conduct lease sales in new offshore areas that were previously under Congressional and Presidential moratoria, which were lifted in late 2008 when gas prices climbed to $4 per gallon. Instead of moving forward to vastly increase American energy production and create new jobs, President Obama tossed aside that plan and canceled multiple lease sales. Three and a half years later, the President released a proposed final plan that prohibits offshore drilling in new areas and only allows lease sales to occur in areas that are already open. Despite claims of being proud of their energy record, the Administration deliberately chose to unveil their proposed final five-year offshore plan on the very day of the Supreme Court’s decision on Obamacare, all in an effort to bury news coverage of this setback to job creation and more American-made energy.

In contrast to the President’s plan, the leasing plan included in Chairman Hastings’ bill moves forward with lease sales in new areas, including the Mid-Atlantic off Virginia. President Obama cancelled a Virginia lease sale scheduled for 2011. Under President Obama’s plan, the soonest that a lease sale could occur off of Virginia would be in the year 2017. The areas where lease sales occur in Chairman Hastings’ bill are those known to contain the greatest known amounts of oil and natural gas resources, which will provide new opportunities for increased energy production and job creation. Specifically, the bill would implement a new lease sale schedule (shown below), protect national defense and military operations, and provide for separate environmental impact statements for each specific lease sale.

Proposed Lease Sale Schedule

Sale No. Area Year
229 Western Gulf of Mexico 2012
220 Mid-Atlantic Sale (Virginia) 2013
225 Eastern Gulf of Mexico 2013
227 Central Gulf of Mexico 2013
249 So. Cal. Existing Infrastructure 2013
233 Western Gulf of Mexico 2013
244 Cook Inlet 2013
212 Chukchi Sea 2013
228 Southern California 2014
230 Mid-Atlantic 2014
231 Central Gulf of Mexico 2014
238 Western Gulf of Mexico 2014
242 Beaufort Sea 2014
221 Chukchi Sea 2014
245 Mid-Atlantic 2015
232 North Atlantic 2015
234 Eastern Gulf of Mexico 2015
235 Central Gulf of Mexico 2015
246 Western Gulf 2015
237 Chukchi Sea 2016
239 North Aleutian Basin 2016
248 Western Gulf of Mexico 2016
241 Central Gulf of Mexico 2016
226 Eastern Gulf of Mexico 2016
217 Beaufort Sea 2016
243 Southern California 2017
250 Mid-Atlantic 2017
247 Central Gulf 2017

Offshore Areas Open for Drilling under H.R. 6082, the Congressional Replacement of President Obama’s Energy-Restricting and Job-Limiting Offshore Drilling Plan

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Offshore Areas Blocked for Drilling under President Obama's
Final 2012-2017 Plan

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Offshore Areas Available for Drilling when President Obama
Took Office (January 2009)

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