So it's left up to Congress to put America back on the right track.
Over the past two weeks, the House of Representatives approved legislation to help create thousands of jobs, lower gas prices, and generate millions of dollars to pay down our federal debt. H.R. 1229, appropriately titled "Putting the Gulf of Mexico Back to Work Act," would set stringent deadlines for the Interior Department to act on drilling permits, H.R. 1230 -"Restarting American Offshore Leasing Now Act"- would require the Interior Department to revive offshore lease sales and just yesterday a large majority of the House approved H.R. 1231, legislation to reverse President Obama's Offshore Moratorium Act. Thanks to Congressional Budget Office estimates, we know that if enacted H.R. 1230 would bring $40 million in federal revenues over the next decade. [See editorial cartoons on energy policy.]
It shouldn't take an act of Congress (or two) to compel a federal agency to do its job, and yet we know that it has come down to this. It took two federal court orders and a civil contempt citation before Interior Secretary Salazar lifted an unlawful moratorium on oil drilling in the Gulf and released a paltry number of permits approved more than a year ago.
Our nation needs more jobs, lower gas prices, and less dependence on foreign oil. If President Obama won't lead the way, we simply ask him to stop blocking the way.
Markey was right in one sense: It does take up to 10 years to find a viable well and get that oil to Americans. The question is, a decade from now—when there's no new oil production off the Gulf of Mexico—will we be asking ourselves, "What if…?"