House advances bill tying oil reserves to domestic energy development

Under the legislation, decisions to take oil from the SPR would have to be balanced with a plan from the Department of Energy to increase domestic production, by increasing the federal lands available for drilling. Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah) said the bill is a reminder that the Obama administration is not doing enough to ensure domestic energy supplies and create jobs in the energy industry.

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"Energy is an absolute prerequisite to our economic engine and creates jobs," Bishop said. "If this administration ever hopes to get unemployment down during its tenure, then helping to develop more domestic energy is the key."

Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) argued that the bill should be called the "Death and Destruction Act," because it would increase pollution and "directly lead to the death of American citizens."

"It's really a wish list for the oil industry that has no chance of becoming law, a huge giveaway to the oil industry at the expense of the health of American families, the health of our environment, and our enjoyment and recreational opportunities and business opportunities on public lands," Polis said.

Among other things, the bill would set up a commission requiring the administration to examine how environmental rules affect gas prices and jobs, require reports from the government on its onshore energy strategy every four years, and insist that the secretary of the Interior to decide on lease sale permits within 30 days of application.

Despite arguments against the bill, the rule was supported by 10 Democrats.