Issue: H.R. 2231 Offshore Energy and Jobs Act. (To amend the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to increase energy exploration and production on the Outer Continental Shelf, provide for equitable revenue sharing for all coastal States, implement the reorganization of the functions of the former Minerals Management Service into distinct and separate agencies, and for other purposes.) Sponsor: Rep. Doc Hastings (WA-4)
Result: Passed in House, 235 to 186, 13 not voting. Awaits consideration by the Senate. Democrats scored.
Bill Summary: The Offshore Energy and Jobs Act (H.R. 2231) would revise existing law to expand the leasing, operation, and development of oil and natural gas resources available in the Outer Continental Shelf.
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From the CRS Summary: Amends the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA) to direct the Secretary of the Interior to implement a leasing program that includes at least 50% of the available unleased acreage within each outer Continental Shelf (OCS) planning area considered to have the largest undiscovered, technically recoverable oil and gas resources, with an emphasis on offering the most geologically prospective parts of the planning area.
Analysis: The bill is primarily supported by Republicans and is opposed by President Obama. According to the House Committee on Natural Resources, which developed the plan: “The bill removes federal government barriers that block production of our own U.S. energy resources. President Obama has effectively re-imposed an offshore drilling moratorium and imposed a lease plan that keeps 85 percent of our offshore areas off-limits to American energy production.”
For several decades, the Establishment Insiders and their child, the environmental movement, have sought to inhibit America’s domestic energy development and increase our nation’s dependence on foreign oil.
However, in 2008 political pressure due to escalating oil and gas prices caused the George W. Bush administration and Congress to overturn the two-decade long moratoria on new offshore drilling on most of the Outer Continental Shelf. It appeared that some relief was in sight.
However, the five-year leasing plan that the Secretary of the Interior was required to prepare under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act has been constantly trimmed and delayed.
Realistically, H.R. 2231 is pure posturing by the GOP as no one expected the measure to get by the Democrat-controlled Senate, let alone survive a presidential veto. However, we score the House Democrats on their votes on H.R. 2231, giving credit to those 16 who stood against their party leadership in support of freeing up America’s energy resources.
We have assigned (good vote) to the Ayes and (bad vote) to the Noes. (P = voted present; ? = not voting; blank = not listed on roll call.)