Today, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 1229, the Putting the Gulf Back to Work Act – a bill which, among other things, requires a 30-day deadline for the Interior Department to issue or deny drilling permits in the Gulf. The legislation passed 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,” according to a release from the House Natural Resources Committee.
H.R. 1229 has several parts…
- 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.
The bill has a fighting chance of passing in the Senate, assuming Harry Reid brings it up for a vote. Whether it survives the president’s veto pen is a different story.
By the way, here was Rep. Jeff Landry on the floor with a quick speech in favor of the bill.
Classic Landry. “I can’t pull my boat with a Prius.”
And then here was Landry right before the vote…