By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
In a speech at a UPS facility in Nevada, President Obama said, “Right now, American oil production is the highest that it’s been in eight years. Eight years. Last year, we relied less on foreign oil than in any of last 16 years. That hasn’t gotten a lot of attention, but that’s important. We’re moving in the right direction when it comes to oil and gas production.
Pres. Obama continued, “And today, I’m announcing that my administration will soon open up around 38 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico for additional exploration and development, which could result in a lot more production of domestic energy.”
In a statement released to Facebook, Congresswoman Martha Roby (R) from Montgomery responded to today’s announcement, “The executive branch has moved too slowly in recent years to allow new energy exploration in the Gulf of Mexico, but today’s announcement by the Interior Department is a much-needed step in the right direction. Experts estimate that these 38 million acres in the central Gulf of Mexico are home to one billion barrels of oil and four trillion cubic feet of natural gas. In addition to helping stabilize gas prices for working families and small businesses, environmentally safe production of these resources will create new American jobs on the energy coast.”
The Bush Administration had previously set plans to lease the same area for oil and gas exploration during the summers of 2011 and 2012. Those plans were suspended indefinitely by the Obama Administration after the BP Deepwater Horizens accident while the Obama administration studied the safety of offshore oil drilling.
Roby said, “Gulf states, in particular, could benefit from this lease sale. Under a law passed in 2006, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas are eligible to receive 37.5 percent of the initial payment and royalties resulting from many nearby leases in the Gulf. The state of Alabama, for example, can then reinvest those funds into costal restoration and onshore infrastructure projects.”
President Obama also encouraged more use of natural gas as well as alternative forms of energy. “We need an all-out, all-in, all-of-the-above strategy that develops every source of American energy — a strategy that’s cleaner and cheaper and full of new jobs,” Obama said.
Rep. Roby called on the President to reconsider his decision to block construction of the Keystone Pipeline. Rep. Roby said, “Today’s announcement is consistent with an ‘”all of the above” approach to our nation’s energy problem. I hope that President Obama will build on this news by reconsidering his recent rejection of the Keystone XL Pipeline, an important infrastructure project that would have increased energy supplies in America and created tens-of-thousands of American jobs.”
The administration has raised the minimum lease price from $37.50 an acre to a $100 an acre to encourage oil companies to develop their leases.