Last month, the White House took a significant step backward in our efforts to expand American energy production and create more jobs.  It released a five-year leasing plan that blocks off 85 percent of America’s offshore areas, opens no new areas to energy production and provides for the fewest number of new lease sales in history.  The White House tried to bury the plan – which completely undermines the president’s stated support for Republicans’ all-of-the-above energy policy - under a mountain of other breaking news, but Republicans are not letting the administration off the hook.  Tomorrow, the House will vote on the Congressional Replacement of President Obama’s Energy-Restricting and Job-Limiting Offshore Drilling Plan, legislation that replaces the president’s de facto moratorium with “an environmentally responsible, robust plan that supports new offshore” energy production to address energy costs and create jobs.  Here’s more on the bill from House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings’ op-ed in The Hill today:

“President Obama’s plan doesn’t open one new area for leasing and energy production. The Atlantic Coast, the Pacific Coast and most of the water off Alaska are all placed off-limits. …

“The president’s plan only offers 15 lease sales limited to the Gulf of Mexico and, very late in the plan, small parts of Alaska. It doesn’t open one new area for leasing and energy production. According to the non-partisan Congressional Research Service, President Obama’s 15 lease sales represent the lowest number ever included in an offshore leasing plan. …

“In stark contrast to the president, the Congressional replacement plan includes 29 lease sales and opens new areas previously under moratoria. It’s a targeted effort towards those areas where we know we have the most oil and natural gas resources – like the mid-Atlantic, the Southern California Coast and Alaska. This is a drill smart plan that would create thousands of new American jobs, help lower prices at the pump and strengthen our national and economic security.”

As Chairman Hastings notes, if Senate Democrats do not follow suit and pass the bipartisan House bill, the president’s plan will automatically go into effect – “a tacit endorsement of the president’s plan…for no-new-American-energy and no-new-American-jobs.” Senate Democrats have already offered their tacit support for President Obama’s failed energy policies by blocking several House-passed American Energy Initiative bills that would remove barriers to energy production to help lower costs and create jobs.  “Congress should not shrink from its responsibilities during this time and should send a loud and clear message to President Obama that his offshore energy plan is unacceptable and we can do better,” says Chairman Hastings. 

The House vote on Republicans’ pro-jobs, pro-American energy offshore plan will be followed by another vote this week on legislation that puts the breaks on the Obama administration’s excessive red tape that is putting Americans out of work in Pennsylvania and across the country, and making it harder for small businesses to hire.  Republicans’ relentless focus on jobs will continue next week with a vote to stop the small business tax hike on January 1st that puts 700,000 more American jobs at risk. 

Learn more and follow the progress of the Congressional Replacement of President Obama’s Energy-Restricting and Job-Limiting Offshore Drilling Plan and other House-passed jobs and energy bills by “liking” the American Energy Initiative on Facebook, and read more about the Republican jobs plan at