His comment followed an announcement of a western Gulf of Mexico lease sale by the Department of Interior. Vitter said the sale is only the third lease sale since the drilling moratorium in 2010, which occurred as a result of the BP Gulf oil spill. He said that if it weren’t for the moratorium, 10 lease sales would have happened under the same period of time.
In the second presidential debate last week, Obama and Romney argued over whether energy production from federally controlled areas had increased or decreased under the Obama administration.
Vitter said because of the drilling moratorium, and the slow leasing process since, the government lost billions of dollars in revenue.
Vitter has also been urging the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to go back to the previous five-year leasing plan that would open up nearly all of the Outer Continental Shelf for lease sales, something environmentalists oppose.
—This article was updated at 11:04 a.m.