GOP floats oil and gas drilling proposals

| 11/11/2011

Earlier this month, House Speaker John Boehner, R-OH, said his party would soon roll out a plan to increase domestic energy production and use proceeds to help pay for road and bridge infrastructure. That plan took a step forward on Friday, Nov. 11, when Rep. Steve Stivers, R-OH, announced plans for a bill. A separate bill would tackle deficit reduction.

Stivers calls his proposal the American-Made Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act, and says it would lift restrictions on oil and gas drilling and link energy production to infrastructure investment.

Stivers’ plan is to help pay for a long-term surface transportation authorization bill currently being drafted by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. The transportation bill, most likely a six-year authorization costing $230 billion, still lacks about $12 billion per year to be fully funded.

Linking energy production to infrastructure investment is one idea to fill that gap.

“The U.S. has vast energy resources that are not being developed due to federal government roadblocks,” Stivers stated on Friday.

“Removing these barriers and allowing expanded American energy production will create long-term job growth, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and provide much-needed revenue to help pay for vital infrastructure improvements.”

Specifically, the Stivers plan would open untapped resources in the Outer Continental Shelf for oil and gas drilling, raise revenue from offshore leases and dedicate new revenue for infrastructure projects.

Rep. Doc Hastings, R-WA, announced a separate oil and gas bill that would target deficit reduction. He calls his plan the Alaskan Energy for American Jobs Act. It would allow revenue from drilling in the Coastal Plain of Alaska with at least 50 percent of the proceeds going toward the deficit.