U.S. lawmakers sparring over energy

May 12, 2011 at 10:20 AM
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WASHINGTON, May 12 (UPI) -- A bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives would give offshore explorers access to huge quantities of oil and gas, a backer claims.

Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, spoke out in favor of a House bill that would open offshore areas in the U.S. continental shelf to more oil and gas drilling.

Young claims parts of the Atlantic, Pacific and Alaskan coasts hold billions of barrels of oil and trillions of cubic feet of natural gas.

"This bill requires the administration to move forward with offshore lease sales in areas containing the most oil and natural gas," he said in a statement referring to U.S. President Barack Obama's White House.

Young's counterparts in the Democrat-controlled U.S. Senate, meanwhile, introduced a bill to cut huge tax subsidies for energy companies.

U.S. consumers are still paying around $4 per gallon of gasoline despite a precipitous drop in the benchmark price for crude oil, making energy a hot-button political issue.

Michael Bromwich, director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, was quoted by the Platts news service recently as saying more exploration off the U.S. coast wouldn't do much to ease gasoline prices, however.

"You can't drill your way to lower oil prices," he said.

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