|The areas that the Congress has under restriction could produce nearly 10 years worth of America's current annual oil production and has vast reserves of natural gas. [Photo Credit: MMS]
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne today issued the following statement in response to the President’s announcement that he intends to lift the Executive prohibition on Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) energy exploration:
“I applaud President Bush’s important step toward expanding domestic energy production on our Outer Continental Shelf.
“With the Executive prohibition cleared away by President Bush, the Congress should now act to remove its legislative ban. We are prepared to work with Congress to remove the legislative ban and define the role of the States in this important endeavor.
“The areas that the Congress has under restriction could produce nearly 10 years worth of America’s current annual oil production and has vast reserves of natural gas.
“As Americans, pay over $4 for a gallon of gasoline and watch energy prices continue to climb higher and higher, they are surely wondering why Congress won’t allow more production of our own energy here at home, instead of simply asking countries halfway around the world to produce more for us.
“The Department of the Interior oversees energy production on the OCS, so I know that it can be done – in fact is being done – in an environmentally responsible manner and out of sight of land. Significantly, per the President’s decision today, existing Marine Sanctuaries remain off-limits to energy production.”