Sharp divisions over U.S. energy plans

July 25, 2012 at 8:18 AM
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WASHINGTON, July 25 (UPI) -- U.S. leaders sparring over domestic energy production expressed sharp divisions over the 5-year lease plan outlined by the White House.

The government this week announced an offshore lease for oil and gas acreage in the Gulf of Mexico would take place in November. Similar lease sales were in June and December.

Republican leaders on the House Natural Resources Committee last week introduced legislation that goes far beyond what the White House envisions for offshore development.

U.S. Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., chairman of the committee, said the Obama administration plans set the U.S. offshore energy sector back four years.

"The congressional replacement plan would generate $600 million in additional revenue and create tens of thousands of new American jobs," he said in a statement.

U.S. Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., the ranking Democrat on the committee, said Hastings' proposal represents the 11th such effort by House Republicans. All of them have stalled, he said.

"Like the bills before it, it can't pass the Senate and the administration has already said that the president would veto it," he said in a statement.

The Energy Department's Energy Information Administration, in its monthly short-term energy outlook, noted domestic crude oil production increased 3.7 percent last year to 5.7 million barrels per day. Production should increase to 6.3 million bpd in 2012, the highest annual level since 1997 and reach 6.7 million bpd by next year.

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