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Wicker cools on drilling policy

GULF OF MEXICO — Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) is not so sure any more that President Obama’s offshore drilling policy is good for the nation or the state.

At a conference last month, Obama announced his plans for expanded offshore drilling.

“Initially, I was encouraged by the administration’s acknowledgement that oil and gas must play an important role in our energy portfolio,” Wicker said. “I was hopeful the President’s announcement represented the first of many steps toward utilizing our vast domestic energy reserves.

“Unfortunately, a closer look at the administration’s plan reveals that it actually diminishes and delays oil and gas development off our nation’s coasts. The Obama administration inherited a robust, five-year leasing plan, authorizing increased offshore oil and gas leasing and development in the OCS. The proposal, drafted by President George W. Bush, would have given our nation the opportunity to maximize our domestic resource potential by granting access to 500 million acres for exploration. Last fall, I joined a bipartisan group of 35 senators and urged the administration to implement this plan without delay.

“Instead, the Obama administration’s drilling plan would place under lock and key 60 percent – or 360 million acres of the OCS – that had been slated for exploration. The plan, which is being billed as an expansion of offshore drilling, would actually prohibit our nation from accessing 13 billion barrels of our own oil and over 41 trillion cubic feet of our own natural gas. So what, then, would the administration’s new drilling proposal actually do? It appears that it would accomplish very little.

“I hope President Obama will rethink this drilling plan. The administration should adopt and implement policies that will strengthen our nation through American energy and American jobs.”


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