Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Upper St. Clair, announced today that he will introduce a bill Monday intended to push through drilling permits on the Gulf of Mexico and expand drilling on the outer continental shelf -- something many folks have been iffy about since Deepwater Horizon, but that Murphy says is particularly urgent now at a time of rising gas prices and upheaval in the Middle East.
The Gulf is a long way from Southwest PA but Murphy, who is rising on the Energy and Commerce Committee, has made energy issues a major part of his portfolio, particularly when it comes to cheerleading development of the Marcellus Shale. Murphy also plans to re-introduce the energy bill he pushed with Oklahoma Democrat Dan Boren during the last Congress that is likely to gain considerably more traction now that the House is in Republican hands. The bill would use revenues from offshore drilling and natural gas development to fund clean energy research.
Murphy's full news release is below the jump:
“The new protests in Libya, on top of the protests in Bahrain, Yemen, and Egypt all should serve as a major warning to the US and our economy: become energy independent or pay the price with more job losses, a worsening economy, and families crushed by higher gas prices.”
“We don’t need to import oil from halfway around the globe when we have our own resources here at home. There are over thirty Gulf of Mexico drilling projects just waiting to safely begin production of US-owned oil but stand idle because the Interior Department effectively revoked these rigs’ previously-approved permits.
“On Monday, I will introduce the SECURE Act, the Safe Exploration Coming from Underwater Reserves of Energy Act. This bill will allow all Gulf of Mexico drilling permits, which have already been approved by regulators, to safely move forward. Congress should act immediately to pass the SECURE Act so we begin using our own oil and gas instead of buying it from OPEC.
“By enacting the SECURE Act, which would lift the Administration’s “permitorium” in the Gulf, and expanding exploration on the outer continental shelf, we would unleash over $3 trillion in new federal revenue. We wouldn’t have to buy hundreds of billions of dollars worth of oil from OPEC, borrow $900 billion from China, run a massive trade deficit, or raise taxes. I will also be reintroducing a bipartisan energy plan, the American Conservation and Clean Energy Independence Act, which will use the revenues from offshore exploration leases and royalties to slash our deficit, build clean power plants, clean up our air and water, increase renewables, and rebuild our crumbling highways and bridges — all while creating millions of jobs and trillions in economic output.
“Since the 1970’s Arab Oil embargo the US has talked about cutting its dependence on foreign oil, while little has been done. Our foreign oil imports have risen from 30 percent in the 1970s to over 60% today. Now, we spend over one billion dollars per day on foreign oil, money that is not invested in US jobs, infrastructure, or education. And over 1.6 billion barrels are imported from countries that are politically unstable. It is a recipe for disaster and worsening by the day.
“Although many have called for reducing US consumption of oil through mechanisms like Cap-and-Trade-style taxes, the simple fact is that such a plan will not work. The increased costs for all energy sources will send manufacturing jobs sprinting to China. The US will need to continue using oil and natural gas for manufacturing, transportation, and chemical development for the foreseeable future. Each day that we refuse to explore our own vast oil resources is another day where we’ve placed our economy at great risk. We are another major oil price spike away from another deep recession on top of the current one we have yet to fully recover from.
“I urge my colleagues to join me in seizing this opportunity to secure America’s economic future and energy needs.”