(Photo By: KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC – Congressmen Bill Flores (Republican, Texas) and Jeff Landry (Republican, New Iberia) introduced legislation today that would amend the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to establish more stringent deadlines and other requirements for the issuance of drilling permits in the Gulf of Mexico. The Expedited Offshore Permitting Act would establish certainty in offshore oil and gas development and increase domestic energy production in order to promote American job growth and energy security.

Permit delays directly impact the pace of development of American taxpayer-owned energy resources. Even a small delay of a few weeks for each permit request can create bottlenecks compounded by the difficulty in securing rigs and support services. Current permitting slowdowns have stretched from days, to weeks, to months; and this situation is creating long delays, particularly for large, capital intensive projects, increasing the negative impact on potential production, investment and revenue. The Expedited Offshore Permitting Act reduces delays imposed by the Obama Administration that slow the permit approval process by repeatedly requesting for additional information prior to acting on a drilling application. Under this bill, if the Secretary disapproves an application or amended application, the leaseholders may request a refund on their bonus bid for the lease plus interest.

“The Expedited Offshore Permitting Act aims to increase American energy production and reverse the Obama Administration’s reckless anti-energy policies that are costing thousands of jobs, driving up gasoline prices and increasing uncertainty in the marketplace,” said Congressman Flores. “It’s time we put the Gulf of Mexico back to work and restore stability and certainty from unlocking access and tapping into the vast amounts of taxpayer-owned resources that currently sit idle. By establishing more stringent deadlines and other requirements for the offshore drilling permitting process, we may work to restore certainty in offshore oil and gas development. This legislation along with the LEASE Act are critical first steps to finally putting our country on the path to energy independence without further delay.”

“Since the BP tragedy, the President has halted drilling operations in the Gulf of Mexico. This reckless energy policy has caused thousands of hard-working Americans to lose their jobs and has kept over 200,000 barrels of oil off the market daily,” said Congressman Landry. “If we want to reduce the pain at the pump and decrease our dependence on foreign oil, we have to stop the Department of Interior from dragging its feet in issuing drilling permits. The Expedited Offshore Permitting Act will expedite the issuance of drilling permits so I am proud to support this legislation.”