By Ben Geman - 07/24/12 03:05 PM EDT
Mitt Romney is pouncing on the White House threat to veto GOP offshore drilling legislation, alleging through an aide Tuesday that President Obama “doesn’t have a clue” when it comes to energy.
“As energy prices have risen and our economy continues to struggle,
President Obama insists on hindering efforts to expand domestic
production and create American jobs,” said Andrea Saul, spokeswoman for
Romney, the presumptive GOP White House nominee.
“Whether blocking job-creating initiatives like the Keystone pipeline or wasting taxpayer money on boondoggles like Solyndra, President Obama doesn’t have a clue when it comes to America’s energy future,” she said.
The House is debating the bill Tuesday and it’s likely to pass Wednesday. It requires Interior Department oil-and-gas leasing off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, which remain off-limits for at least the next five years under the Obama administration’s plans.
The bill also requires a more aggressive schedule of lease sales in Arctic waters off Alaska’s coast than the Obama administration plan, which is far more cautious about Arctic development and would wait to hold new lease sales there until 2016 and 2017.
The White House, in threatening to veto the House plan if it reached Obama’s desk (which is highly unlikely), said the administration’s narrower plan provides oil-and-gas drillers with access to large resources in coming years.
“The administration's recently announced five-year strategy for offshore oil and gas leasing makes areas containing more than 75 percent of estimated, technically recoverable oil and gas resources in our oceans available for exploration and development — including all of the highest resource areas on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf (OCS),” the White House said Monday.
The White House also said the House Republicans’ bill would “establish unworkable deadlines and substantive and procedural limitations on important environmental review.”
But Saul, Romney’s spokeswoman, said Obama’s energy policies have been an “abject failure.”