White House attacks GOP oil lease bill, but no veto threat

The White House, in March of 2010, proposed oil-and-gas leasing in some areas off the mid-Atlantic and southeast coast, and in more Arctic waters, as part of the next 2012-2017 plan.

But the administration backed off the proposal last December in the wake of the BP oil spill.

The White House statement on the GOP bill before the House says that it clips regulators’ discretion and ability to pursue safe development. It states:

"H.R. 1231 would require the Department of the Interior (DOI) to open new areas on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) to leasing without any discretion to determine which areas are actually appropriate and safe for exploration and development. The bill would have the effect of mandating OCS lease sales along the entire East Coast, offshore California, and elsewhere, without providing states and local citizens the opportunity to share views about where exploration should happen."

The White House statement does not threaten a veto of the bill. But it’s highly unlikely to ever reach President Obama’s desk due to major Senate hurdles.

The White House similarly attacked two other GOP drilling bills earlier this month without threatening vetoes.

Here’s the rest of the White House statement:

"The Administration is developing a 5-year (2012-2017) comprehensive plan for offshore oil and gas exploration and production that incorporates lessons learned from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. This plan, developed through a public review process, will assess which areas of the OCS are appropriate for future oil and gas leasing. In addition, the Administration is focusing on resources that are already available for development under existing plans. A recent DOI report shows that about 70 percent of leased offshore acres are not being explored or developed. Given the untapped potential of those areas, the Administration is pursuing a number of policies to promote timely and responsible development of those OCS leases."