The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Offshore Drilling: What's the Administration's Agenda?

Jane Van Ryan

Jane Van Ryan
Posted March 3, 2010

As the ranking Republican on the House Natural Resources Committee, Rep. Doc Hastings (R-WA) is in a position to closely observe and act on the administration's proposed energy policies.

Today in an op-ed published in The Washington Times, he provides an explanation for what he calls the administration's "mixed signals" on offshore energy production.

Hasting writes:

"Sen. Obama opposed it. Candidate Obama changed his mind when gas prices soared. President Obama stalled efforts to expand it, but then seemingly promoted it in this year's State of the Union address. Understandably, his ever-changing position has left Americans confused and frustrated."

Now Hastings believes he has seen the administration's true agenda. He says the president's 2011 budget proposal shows that government revenues collected from new offshore leasing will decline from $1.5 billion in 2009 to only $413 million in 2015.

Hastings says, "This budget clearly indicates that he has no intention of opening additional areas to drilling off our nation's coast."

Failure to expand offshore energy development represents a huge missed opportunity. Offshore drilling not only could increase U.S. energy supplies, but also it could create jobs, improve the economy, reduce the trade deficit and boost U.S. energy security.

And Hastings says, "It's important to recognize that expanding offshore drilling can be conducted in a responsible, environmentally safe way."

He adds:

"It is clear that more drilling is not the single magic solution to our nation's energy crisis--but it is an important component that can't be ignored. Increased oil and natural gas production must be part of an all-of-the-above energy plan...that promotes clean, renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, hydroelectric and, especially, nuclear...With our economy and national security on the line, there is absolutely no justification for this administration to continue blocking progress."

Tomorrow, the House Subcommittee on Energy Mineral Resources will hold an oversight hearing on the administration's budget proposal for the Minerals Management Service (MMS), which is the government agency responsible for offshore energy development.

For more information, read the full text of Hastings' op-ed.


Update on March 3, 2010: The House Subcommittee on Energy Mineral Resources oversight hearing on 2011 budget requests has been postponed until further notice.