From a release out of Rep. Charles Boustany’s office…
US Congressmen Charles W. Boustany, Jr. (R-Southwest Louisiana) and Gene Green (TX-29) today introduced a resolution recognizing the importance of shallow and deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico to the nation’s economy and security. In the resolution, they directed the Secretary of the Interior to streamline the approval of drilling permit applications. Rep. Boustany is the lead Republican cosponsor.
After the Macondo spill in April of 2010, a moratorium was issued on new offshore drilling permits. However since the moratoriums were lifted in May for shallow water and October for deepwater, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) has issued a total of 37 new shallow water permits and just one permit for deepwater activities that were subject to the moratorium.
“With so much unrest in North Africa and the Middle East, it is critical that American energy production gets up and running again,” Boustany said. “These delays have severely hurt the hard-working men and women of the Gulf Coast, and continue to jeopardize our national security. This has dragged on long enough. I am pleased that my colleagues from states across the country, including California, Missouri, Michigan, New York and Pennsylvania, realize how critically important American energy production is and have joined us along the Gulf Coast in a bipartisan effort to push the Administration to act now.”
The lawmakers’ resolution states that the oil and gas production in the Gulf of Mexico produces approximately 30% of the United States’ oil and 10% of its natural gas. As production is drastically reduced by the inability of companies to receive permits due to a lack of proper guidance on new offshore drilling requirements issued by Interior, the U.S. is forced to rely on foreign oil sources to supply its needs. As the recent developments in the Middle East affect the prices of oil, Americans will continue to see gas prices and the cost of goods rise.
“As our country struggles to revive itself after a recession, those in the Gulf whose livelihoods depend on the energy economy have another obstacle to making ends meet,” Green said. “Twelve oil rigs have been forced to leave the Gulf as they sat idle and more will certainly follow. If Interior fails to act, the negative economic impact will spread beyond the Gulf States and hit the nation as a whole.”
In addition to Reps. Boustany and Green, the bipartisan resolution has 75 cosponsors from 29 states across the country. The resolution is the companion bill to S.Res.77 introduced on February 28, 2011 by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas and Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana.