CEA Applauds House Decision to Improve Drilling Permitting in Alaska
Bill Would Create Regulatory Certainty and Address Looming Debt Crisis

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. House of Representatives today passed legislation that will streamline the approval process for energy production by providing much-needed regulatory certainty for offshore drilling permitting in Alaska. The bill, H.R. 2021, authored by Rep. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), passed with an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote of 253-166.

Most importantly, H.R. 2021 would require that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) either approve or deny a completed permit application within six months of its filing. Recent attempts by companies to acquire permits for offshore oil and gas development in Alaska have been delayed for months or even years, forcing energy companies to spend billions of dollars on administrative costs without the ability to produce energy or create jobs.

Passage also comes in the wake of a newly released report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) that projects America’s debt soaring towards unprecedented levels, including reaching 70% of GDP by the end of fiscal year 2011. If signed into law, H.R. 2021 would facilitate additional oil and gas development by an industry whose current economic activity supplies the U.S. Treasury with over $90 million per day in taxes and other payments.

In response to the House’s passage of the legislation, Consumer Energy Alliance (CEA) President David Holt released the following statement:

“Today’s report by the CBO should be a wake-up call to our elected leaders to act now to prevent a fiscal collapse. Instead of continuing to argue over higher tax rates or which programs to cut, Congress and the Administration could immediately address our nation’s debt problems by rolling back costly red tape and letting the American energy industry get back to work. H.R. 2021 will help prevent the lengthy and unnecessary permitting delays that have become so common inside the EPA, paving the way not only to a better energy policy but also to a more sustainable economic future: Allowing access to oil and gas resources currently off-limits in the United States could generate $1.7 trillion in additional government revenues, and it wouldn’t require raising taxes by a single dime. And unlike punitive tax increases, expanding responsible oil and gas development would also create hundreds of thousands of new jobs throughout America.

“The facts are clear: it’s time for our elected officials in Washington to end the numerous regulatory hurdles that needlessly keep domestic energy supplies off limits and hamstring our ability to address America’s looming debt crisis. I applaud Congressman Gardner and the House of Representatives for their continued leadership to responsibly and safely unlock our natural resources in the Outer Continental Shelf.”