With the political unrest in the Middle East affecting U.S. gas and energy prices, the House is holding two hearings today with energy officials and experts on ways to increase energy production and job growth.
House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (R-WA) held a hearing this morning that examined the economic impact of utilizing domestic resources, instead of relying more on foreign energy sources. He and other Republican leaders have announced their work to draft energy legislation to increase offshore drilling.
Hastings criticized the Obama administration’s stand on energy policy during a press conference last week, saying it has “gone 180 degrees away from using federal resources” at consumer’s expense. He also denounced the federal moratorium on offshore drilling, though the Department of Interior has issued two permits with plans to approve more since the ban expired this month.
Ranking Member Edward Markey expressed that the U.S. has “2% of the world’s proven oil reserves , produces 11%, and consumes 25%” of oil at today’s hearing.
President Obama has also announced that he would consider tapping the nation’s strategic oil reserve if necessary. Guy Caruso, Senior Adviser for Energy and National Security stated that the U.S. will need to continue to import oil for the foreseeable future unless the U.S. finds more oil reserves.
As the push for more domestic drilling intensifies and more permits are issued, Michael Bromwich, who heads the regulatory agency that oversees offshore drilling, will likely answer questions regarding its safety and oversight after last year’s oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Chairman Mike Simpson (R-ID) presides over the House Appropriations Subcommittee hearing.