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Issa slams Obama for ‘political bias’ against US oil drilling

Issa later writes: “President Obama’s political bias against domestic drilling does not affect our foreign competitors. While gas prices continue to rise, so does the exploration of deepwater wells around the world. Job-creating companies will not wait for the administration to approve drilling permits when other countries offer a faster and easier process.”

The column mirrors other GOP allegations that the administration should have moved far more quickly to restart Gulf of Mexico drilling and that permits are still rolling out too slowly.

The Interior Department lifted a formal ban on deepwater drilling in October that was imposed after the BP spill began, but did not begin approving permits under beefed-up safety and environmental rules until late February.

But Michael Bromwich, who is Interior’s top offshore regulator, struck back at critics in a speech Tuesday that defended Interior’s steps to bolster industry requirements around well design, spill containment and other safety matters.

Bromwich — in a speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies — criticized what he called “destructive” and “corrosive” attacks from some lawmakers and industry trade groups.

“They claimed, and some continue to assert, that we had imposed a ‘de facto’ moratorium or created a ‘permitorium’ that was blocking the issuance of drilling permits. Not because the applications had failed to meet all the requirements — which was the fact — but supposedly because we had made politically motivated decisions not to issue them,” Bromwich said, adding that this “could not have been further from the truth.”

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