The solution to rising gas prices and lingering unemployment is for the Obama administration to grant more leases for more offshore oil and gas drilling, House Republicans say.
Today, the House passed H.R. 1230, the “Restarting American Offshore Leasing Now Act,“ a bill that would impose deadlines on the Department of the Interior to sell leases. The Secretary of the Interior would be required to grant approvals within 30 days of the department receiving an application - with the option for extensions.
House Republicans accuse President Obama of canceling and delaying leases sales, thereby “blocking” domestic energy production, costing jobs, and even worsening the national debt. Companion bills, H.R. 1229 and H.R. 1231, would open up new areas to drilling off of the Atlantic coast.
The Obama administration has argued that 30 days is not a sufficient review period to examine the environmental impact of new oil exploration; however, it may have overstated how rigid previous laws were in its damage control effort following BP’s Gulf oil spill.
Scant progress has been made to make drilling safer, and it’s unclear how or whether the new legislation would worsen oversight - leading to future disasters.
The President has argued that most existing offshore leases granted by the Interior Department have not been used for development or exploration. Democratic lawmakers have suggested that oil companies should be charged for the vacancies to encourage development on those sites.
Domestic oil production will not have a measurable effect on world oil prices in both the near and long term; it’s a political canard. Analysts say that it wouldn’t, and it’s impossible that new drilling platforms could begin pumping oil and gas soon enough to relieve the public’s pain at the pump.