Obama’s Actions on U.S. Energy Production ‘Diametrically’ Opposed to His Rhetoric, Says Natural Resources Chairman

By Christopher Goins | March 30, 2011 | 4:33 AM EDT

Rep. Richard "Doc" Hastings (R-Wash.), chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee.

Washington (CNSNews.com) – President Barack Obama speaks a good game about expanding U.S. energy production but his actions contradict his words, said Rep. Richard “Doc” Hastings (R-Wash.), chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, who added that Obama’s actions show he “is not in favor of expanding American energy production and creating American jobs.”

At a press conference on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, CNSNews.com asked Hastings, “Do you agree with Senator [James] Inhofe (R-Okla.) who recently said that higher gas prices are an explicit policy goal of the Obama administration?”

“Let’s put it this way,” Hastings said. “What I have observed during my time as chairman of the committee, is that actions speak louder than words, and that the president said on a number of occasions that he wants to expand American energy production.”

“But his actions are diametrically and 180 degrees opposite that,” said Hastings. “And I mentioned the reinstatement of the moratorium, for example, and the de facto moratorium on the Gulf of Mexico. Those are actions that suggest to me very clearly that this president is not in favor of expanding American energy production and creating American jobs.”

In remarks on Tuesday on Capitol Hill, Hastings said he was in favor of increasing energy production offshore and on federal land. “These areas hold vast energy resources,” he said. “And they are the areas where the Obama administration has done the most to delay production.”

Hastings spoke with other House Republicans at a press conference about the American Energy Initiative, which is legislation designed by House Republicans to lower gasoline prices and expand U.S. energy production. Hastings has proposed three bills towards that end.

The Putting the Gulf Back to Work Act would end the de facto moratorium in the Gulf of Mexico. Designed to provide certainty, the act would set firm time-lines for considering permits to drill for oil and natural gas offshore. “It saves American jobs by preventing deliberate inaction and bureaucratic stalling” Hastings said.

The other two acts, the Restarting American Offshore Leasing Now Act and the Reversing President Obama’s Offshore Moratorium Act, would compel the Obama administration to re-open offshore lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico that the administration as canceled or delayed and lift the ban on offshore drilling.

President Barack Obama. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

“This bill [the Reversing President Obama’s Offshore Moratorium Act] says let’s move forward with leasing and drilling in those areas that we know America has real significant resources,” said Hastings.

Back on Mar. 10, on the Senate floor, Inhofe said, “My message today is simply this: higher gas prices -- indeed, higher prices for the energy we use -- are an explicit policy goal of the Obama administration. Let me put it another way: the Obama administration is attacking affordable energy.”

“We have, in fact, 163 billion barrels of recoverable oil -- nearly six times higher than what President Obama and the Democrats like to claim,” said Inhofe, the ranking member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. “Let's think about 163 billion barrels for a moment: that is enough to maintain our current levels of production and replace our imports from the Persian Gulf for more than 50 years.”