Fleming: More Offshore Oil, Gas Drilling Needed

Wednesday, 25 Jul 2012 02:19 PM

By John Bachman and Andra Varin

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President Barack Obama’s five-year plan to regulate offshore oil and gas drilling does not meet America’s energy needs and should be replaced with a GOP proposal that would open up new areas for exploration, Rep. John Fleming told Newsmax.TV Wednesday.

Fleming, R-La., is a member of the House Natural Resources Committee and a proponent of H.R. 6082, which would expand offshore lease sales in a bid to increase domestic oil and gas production. The House was expected to vote on the bill Wednesday.

Fleming said Obama had drastically reduced the areas of continental shelf available for leasing under President George W. Bush.

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Obama is “really not opening up anything new, closing down much of what Bush had opened up, which is kind of odd considering the fact that oil and gasoline prices are back up again. Also, there are other areas that he allows some seismic activity, some study, but no real activity – no leasing, no drilling,” Fleming told Newsmax.TV.

Restricting leases in the United States, he said, only increases American dependency on foreign fuel supplies. And it means oil and gas companies will look for places to drill overseas instead of investing in the U.S.

“The more you restrict what’s available in the United States, the more likely that the equation is going to favor going to foreign countries,” Fleming said.

The GOP bill was environmentally responsible because it would keep exploration from going to countries with little oversight.

“It’s important to note that not only by sending rigs overseas to other places to drill, that we’re moving those rigs from a very safe environmental [climate] where we have much more control, much more oversight and regulation than other countries, other areas of the world that don’t have the same,” he said.

The congressman argued that Obama’s plan also sends jobs overseas, creating a “lose-lose proposition” for Americans.

“One of the things that’s dragging our economy down rapidly is the high cost of energy, which we don’t have to have. If we actually put more conventional energy into the marketplace, that would lower the cost of that.

"A,  it would increase jobs just because you would have more producers out there working their employees. And, B, as those costs come down, businesses begin to make their bottom lines and they start expanding once again,” Fleming said.

“At the end of the day, you don’t get more tax revenue by raising taxes," he said. You get it by employing more people who will, in turn, pay taxes.”

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