By Ben Geman - 05/14/11 10:20 AM EDT
The senior House Republican leading the charge for a major expansion of offshore oil drilling alleged Saturday that President Obama’s new plan for speeding up development is far too modest.
“One weekend address announcing minor policy tinkering, while positive, does not erase the Administration’s long job-destroying record of locking-up America’s energy resources,” said Doc HastingsDoc HastingsBoehner hires new press secretary GOP plots new course on Endangered Species Act reform GOP accuses feds of bad science in endangered species studies MORE (R-Wash.), the chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, in a statement.
The House this month passed a trio of bills Hastings authored that would mandate a major expansion of offshore drilling and set firm deadlines for the Interior Department to act on offshore drilling permit requests.
Hastings called those bills “real action to produce real American energy.” But he said that Obama is starting to come around to the GOP’s views. “It’s ironic that while the White House and Congressional Democrats strongly criticized these efforts, President Obama is now taking tiny baby steps in our direction.”
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) praised Obama’s actions, calling them consistent with House Democrats’ goals.
“The President is putting into action ideas from the Democrats’ Increasing American Energy Production Now Act, sponsored by Congressman Gerry ConnollyGerry ConnollyFeds scrutinize DC Metro trains for running red lights Dems want answers after Metro transit officer charged with aiding ISIS DC Metro wasn’t adequately inspecting tracks before train derailment MORE of Virginia, which is part of our ‘Make It In America: Clean Energy Jobs Now’ initiative. This initiative will ensure safe and responsible drilling, protect taxpayers, and lower prices at the pump,” Pelosi said in a statement.
“Our energy plan eliminates breaks for Big Oil; encourages oil companies to drill on the public land they already control; increases safe oil production in Alaska and in the Gulf; and uses the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to increase the oil supply and combat gasoline price hikes from Wall Street speculation,” she said.