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API follows House step in oil, gas

July 27, 2012 at 6:42 AM

WASHINGTON, July 27 (UPI) -- While the U.S. energy sector is providing support to the economy, more could be gained through greater access to domestic resources, a trade group said.

John Felmy, chief economist at the American Petroleum Institute, said the domestic oil and natural gas industry is expanding.

"The oil and gas success story has helped workers and the economy but it could help even more if we encouraged more development through more farsighted energy policies," he said in a statement. "We could be producing more, reducing imports more, and putting more people to work."

Felmy added the White House wasn't showing leadership with its domestic energy policy. U.S. oil and natural gas production has expanded in recent years, however. An auction is set for November for oil and gas acreage off the coast of Texas and a similar lease is under consideration for Alaskan waters.

Critics of the domestic energy policy, however, said the White House is barring access to significant portions of the U.S. continental shelf. The U.S. House of Representatives this week passed a measure that would open most of the continental shelf to oil and natural gas exploration.

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