House Natural Resources panel to examine drilling in Louisiana next week

While Obama administration officials have said they are working dilligently to approve permits in the Gulf, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has blasted legislation introduced by Hastings earlier this month that would dramatically expand drilling. Salazar said Hastings's bills, which passed his committee earlier this week, reflect “amnesia” on behalf of Republicans about last year's spill.

“This field hearing is an opportunity for Congress to listen to the people, communities and businesses in the Gulf of Mexico that were directly impacted by the tragic rig explosion, oil spill and the administration’s de facto moratorium,” Hastings said in a statement. “We’ll examine ongoing obstacles to getting people back to work, environmental impacts and new technology to ensure that U.S. offshore drilling moves forward safely and responsibly.”