Friday, May 13, 2011

House Passes Two More Bills On Offshore Drilling

Note: This posting was originally published on May 12, 2011, but was somehow deleted by
May 12: House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued a statement praising the House for passing what he called two pieces of the Republican "American Energy Initiative" -- the Putting the Gulf Back to Work Act (H.R.1229) and the Reversing President Obama's Offshore Moratorium Act (H.R.1231). He said each bill is designed to address rising gas prices and create new American jobs.

    Speaker Boehner said, "This week, the House took another two steps in our effort to expand American energy production to help lower gas prices and create new jobs. These bills -- part of our ongoing American Energy Initiative -- will end the Obama Administration's de facto moratorium on offshore energy production, help put thousands of Americans back to work, and reduce our dependence on foreign energy. On the other side of the Capitol, Senate Democrats debated a tax hike backed by the White House that some in their own party admit 'won't lower gasoline prices by one penny.' Republicans are focused on solutions that create a better environment for private-sector job growth and provide much-needed relief to families and small businesses struggling with high prices at the gas pump. Raising taxes and imposing new barriers to job growth will do neither; increasing the supply of American energy and stopping policies that drive up prices will."

    Other pieces of the House Republican plan which have been approved by the full House include: the Restarting American Offshore Leasing Now Act (H.R.1230), passed last week, which the Speaker said will "help address soaring gas prices and create new jobs by moving forward on energy projects the Obama Administration has either delayed or canceled." Additionally, in April, the House approved the Energy Tax Prevention Act (H.R.910), aimed at "stopping the EPA from unilaterally imposing a job-crushing 'cap and trade' national energy tax." H.R.910, was essentially the same as a McConnell Amdt. No. 183 to S.493 which failed to pass the Senate by a vote of 50-50.  

    H.R.1229, sponsored by House Committee on Natural Resources Chairman, Representative Doc Hastings (R-WA) had 70 cosponsors and passed by a vote of 263-163, with 163 Democrats voting no and 28 voting for the bill. Rep. Hastings said, ""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. 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."

    H.R.1231, also sponsored by Rep. Hastings had 69 cosponsors and passed by a vote of 243-179, with 170 Democrats and 9 Republicans voting no and 21 Democrats voting for the bill. Rep. Hastings said, "A bipartisan majority of the House recognized the job creating potential of developing new American offshore energy. With unemployment at or near 9 percent for almost three years, Americans need good, high paying jobs to support their families, which is why H.R. 1231 will create 1.2 million new jobs around the country. Make no mistake, this is just as much of a job creating bill as it is an energy creating bill. The positive economic impacts of 1.2 million jobs and an additional 3 million barrels per day of American oil production will make a very real difference."

    Frances Beinecke, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) president and a former member of the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling, issued a statement on the Republican bills saying, "The House continues its reckless march toward increasing offshore drilling while totally disregarding the lessons learned from the Gulf of Mexico disaster or the fact that more drilling won't make a noticeable difference at the pump. Instead of doing Big Oil companies' bidding and granting their every wish, lawmakers ought to be following the Senate's lead in seeking to end Big Oil tax breaks and also push for solutions that can make a real difference at the pump - like encouraging the development of more efficient vehicles."

    While the House Republicans were passing their American Energy Initiative bills, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and other House Democrats held a press conference to unveil their "Make It In America – Clean Energy Jobs Now" initiative which they said would "lower gas prices, end taxpayer dollars to Big Oil, and invest in a stronger economy." Rep. Pelosi said, "It's a plan to invest in American energy, put consumers first, and create jobs. . . we announced [last week] the Taxpayer and Gas Price Relief Act [H.R.1748], sponsored by Congressman Bishop of New York, to eliminate those tax breaks for the five largest oil companies, saving the taxpayers $31 billion over 10 years. . . That bill, which the Republicans said no to, would save the taxpayers $31 billion over 10 years. . .

    "Today, we are putting two more measures on the table. Increasing American Energy Production Now Act -- that's being sponsored by Congressman Connolly of Virginia. And he's here to talk about enacting the recommendations of the bipartisan BP Oil Spill Commission. . . And the Building Our Clean Energy Future Now Act -- sponsored by Congressman Cicilline [D-RI] -- encouraging new alternatives in transportation and how we build our infrastructure and developing and manufacturing advanced vehicle technologies. 

    Access the release from Speaker Boehner (click here). Access a release from Rep. Hastings on H.R.1229 (click here). Access a release from Rep. Hastings on H.R.1231 (click here). Access the statement from NRDC and link to more information (click here).Access the release from Rep. Pelosi on the Democrat's plan (click here). Access legislative details for H.R.1229 (click here). Access legislative details for H.R.1231 (click here). Access legislative details for H.R.1230 (click here). Access legislative details including roll call votes of H.R.910 (click here).  Access legislative details for H.R.1748 (click here). [*Energy]

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