Meanwhile, Domestic Energy Production from Alaska to the Gulf Remains at a Standstill

WASHINGTON – On Wednesday and Thursday of this week, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar will appear before the House Natural Resources Committee and the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee to defend his department’s inaction on offshore permits.  In addition, Secretary Salazar will be making the case for a $358 million budget, fifty percent more than was allocated in fiscal year 2010.  In anticipation of these hearings, Thomas Pyle, president of the Institute for Energy Research, issued the following statement:

“Secretary Salazar has inflicted a great amount of pain on the Gulf community and Americans who work in the energy industry.  By refusing to allow any rigs to return to the Gulf of Mexico for over ten months, he has refused thousands of men and women the ability to return to work.  As a consequence of Salazar’s actions, rigs left the Gulf for other countries and will not return any time in the near future.  With those rigs gone, millions of dollars in wages for workers and billions of dollars in government revenue have gone with them.”

“Anticipating the grilling he will undergo on the Hill this week, Secretary Salazar issued one single permit yesterday in order to relieve some political pressure.  Of course, some part of his decision is cynical.  He knows that issuing one permit does not mean that production will occur as deep-pocketed anti-energy groups will almost certainly litigate to prevent Americans from going back to work in the Gulf of Mexico.”

“Even more cynical are the excuses that Secretary Salazar will bring to the Hill this week.  While he continues to hold permits hostage, he now claims that the process will move quicker only if his budget is increased by fifty percent to $358 million.”

“The American people have had enough with Secretary Salazar and his bureaucrats holding domestic energy production hostage.  While gas prices continue to approach $4 per gallon, America remains the only developed country in the world not making the best use of its domestic resources.  Instead of creating an economic boon by producing these resources, Secretary Salazar is producing more and more layers of green tape to tie up America’s energy producers.  Even worse, he has empowered state-owned foreign oil companies and subjected American consumers to the volatility in the Middle East.”

“Secretary Salazar should not be demanding millions of additional dollars from the American taxpayers.  Instead he should step aside and allow Americans to get back to work.”

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