House Should Oppose Weak Offshore Energy Bill

<?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” />Washington, D.C., December 7, 2006—The Competitive Enterprise Institute urges the U.S. House of Representatives to resist political pressure to accept the Senate-passed offshore oil and gas bill, S. 3711, in the last days of the 109th Congress. While described by proponents as a pro-energy policy, enactment of the bill would actually move the United States further away from significantly increasing domestic energy production.

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“The House should not provide a fig leaf for Senators and Representatives who oppose affordable energy but want to pretend that they have done something to address America’s energy needs,” said Director of Energy Policy Myron Ebell. “Unlike the outstanding bill passed by the House earlier this year, the Senate bill simply doesn’t have any additional energy in it.”


The Senate bill would open to oil and gas exploration a small area of the eastern Gulf of Mexico that is currently closed under an executive moratorium set to expire next year.  By contrast, the House-passed bill, H. R. 4761, would open most of the Atlantic, Pacific, eastern Gulf, and Alaskan offshore areas to oil and gas exploration.  At the same time, it would allow States to prevent production within 100 miles of their coasts and share federal royalties 50-50 with the States involved, as is done with oil and gas produced on federal lands.


“American consumers deserve legislation that will significantly increase domestic oil and gas production. House members should vote against the Senate bill because it only pretends to be doing that.  At some point, the Congress is going to have to confront the fact that domestic oil and gas production is declining because the U. S. is the only country in the world with significant offshore resources that isn’t actively developing them,” said Ebell.