In Letter, Cassidy Demands Energy Hearings

The following is from a letter sent by U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-Baton Rouge) to House Natural Resources Committee chair Nick Rahall asking that hearings be conducted to investigate the failure of the Department of the Interior to act on leasing offshore areas for energy exploration…

The National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) recently released a study of the economic consequences of failing to capitalize on America’s domestic energy resources. According to the NARUC study released on February 15, maintaining the current moratoria on onshore and offshore energy production until 2030 will:

– Result in the loss of 13 million jobs in the energy economy
– Increase consumer energy costs by $2.35 trillion cumulatively
– Increase natural gas prices by an average of 17 percent annually
– Increase electricity prices by an average of 5 percent annually
– Increase gasoline prices by an average of 3 percent annually
– Reduce Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by $2.36 trillion
– Reduce domestic crude oil production by 9.9 billion barrels – an average annual decrease of nearly 15 percent
– Decrease domestic natural gas production by 46 Tcf – an average annual decrease of nearly 9 percent
– Increase imports from OPEC by 4.1 billion barrels, resulting in cumulative payments to OPEC of $607 billion.
– Increase natural gas imports by nearly 15.7 Tcf – an average annual increase of almost 75 percent.

The NARUC report was assembled by experts from the Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) and the Gas Technology Institute and provides the most up-to-date assessment of America’s oil & natural gas resources.

Despite these projections and similar previous warnings, the Administration has continued to impose a moratorium on new energy development on federal lands. The Department of Interior has repeatedly delayed new energy leasing activities, halted the 2010-2015 offshore leasing plan, and withdrawn areas that had been planned for new oil and gas production. The Administration’s 2010 and 2011 budgets have each contained tens of billions of dollars in tax increases on domestic energy production that will raise energy costs for American businesses and consumers.

I request that the House Committee on Natural Resources schedule hearings before March 26 to address the Administration’s actions and inactions, particularly in light of the NARUC report’s projections of the consequences that the ongoing energy moratorium will have for the American economy. Congress must hold the Administration accountable. We must also pass an all-of-the-above energy bill that opens access to our abundant energy resources. With your leadership, our committee can take steps to achieve both of these efforts.

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