Hutchison: Cut “Red Tape” on Energy

Texas Sen. calls on Obama to lift regulations preventing domestic oil, gas production in GOP response.

Weekly remarks by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, as provided by the Republican Party leadership

Hi, I’m United States Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison from Texas.

With energy prices soaring nationwide, many American families are struggling to put gas in their cars and trucks. We are seeing the price of food and other goods rise. An overwhelming majority of Americans say gas prices are causing financial hardship for their families. And more than half say they have had to make major changes to their budgets to compensate.

Unfortunately, rather than work to increase domestic energy production and help bring down gas prices, the Obama administration is seeking to impose more regulations and taxes on oil and gas companies. This is placing our own valuable resources out of reach and stifling job creation -– their proposals will actually increase pain at the pump.

Earlier this week, Republicans put a modest bill to increase production on the floor, and Democrats couldn’t even support that with gas hovering around $4 a gallon!

Republicans have consistently called for greater access to our domestic sources of energy to spur good American jobs, and to prepare for circumstances we can’t control, like….

…natural disasters or unrest in the Middle East that creates instability and drives up the cost of a barrel of oil. We have vast resources under our land and we need to safely explore and develop them to have a stable energy supply for our consumers and our economy.

For nearly a year, American energy producers in the Gulf of Mexico –- our nation’s most abundant source of oil and gas outside of Alaska –- were sidelined by a drilling moratorium imposed by the administration. Exploration slowed to a halt. Thousands of American workers found themselves out of a job.

Though the moratorium was officially lifted in October, the permit approval process has been burdened by bureaucratic impediments. In energy-rich deep waters in the gulf, only 14 permits have been approved in the last full year. Before the moratorium, an average of eight deep water permits were approved every month.

A federal district court judge recently ruled that the government was ‘unlawfully and improperly’ delaying permit reviews. The federal government should be processing permits with urgency -– instead it is dragging its feet. In fact, offshore production will decrease by 13 percent next year because of the permitting delays.

The Obama administration’s moratorium will have long-term effects on energy production. While companies were forced to stop operations, they had to continue paying to lease lands they were prohibited from using. Leaseholders sat idle for a year, losing valuable exploration time through no fault of their own.

Earlier this year, I introduced the LEASE Act, a bill to restore time lost to all leaseholders who were impacted by the moratorium. It’s a simple and fair way we can bring these energy producers the equity they deserve. We can help them put their workers back on the job. The House has already passed its own version of this bill. I hope the Senate will also pass it soon.

Our country needs a long-term policy that provides energy from our own ample natural resources. We can provide a clean environment and affordable energy for our nation’s families and businesses.

It is not enough for the president to talk about producing energy in America. We call on him to put policies in place that cut the bureaucratic red tape and put Americans to work doing it.

A comprehensive energy policy can’t be driven by gas prices or polling numbers. It requires a steady approach that will result in a stable supply of energy. We have an abundance of oil and natural gas –- now we need to access it. Tapping our own vast resources will help lower energy costs for Americans, add high-paying jobs to our economy, and strengthen our security for future generations. I’m Kay Bailey Hutchison. Thank you for listening. ####

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