Vitter unveils bill to expand drilling, block EPA climate rules

The bill has 28 co-sponsors in the Senate. Rep. Rob BishopRobert (Rob) William BishopOvernight Energy: Puerto Rico officials defend Whitefish deal before Congress | US wants level playing field at UN climate summit | House passes flood insurance overhaul GOP chairman cites ‘credibility gap’ in Puerto Rico recovery Lawyers warned Puerto Rico utility against Whitefish contract MORE (R-Utah) introduced companion legislation in the House.

Vitter’s bill comes as Republicans have taken aim at the Obama administration’s energy policies, specifically arguing the Interior Department is moving too slow to issue drilling permits at a time when Americans are worried about high oil and gas prices.

“Yesterday, the president offered some vague platitudes, but no concrete plans to rein in rising gas prices, even as they climb toward $4 per gallon,” Vitter said in a statement. “Today, we’re laying out a far different path by introducing our legislation.”

Experts largely agree that an expansion of domestic oil and gas drilling will have little near-term effect on oil and gas prices.