WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent (PA-15) today voted for the Restarting American Offshore Leasing Now Act (H.R. 1230), a bill to advance delayed oil and natural gas leases in the Gulf of Mexico and off the coast of Virginia, and create thousands of quality American jobs.

“This crucial legislation will increase the long term production of domestic energy resources and generate thousands of American jobs,” said Rep. Dent. “It is important we make certain drilling off our shores is done in a clean and safe manner, but we can no longer allow this Administration to excessively delay the development of American energy. H.R. 1230 establishes a reasonable deadline for the Department of Interior to ensure leases that were originally approved in 2007 are progressing in a timely and responsible fashion.”

In 2007, the U.S. Department of Interior approved 3 lease sales in the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) that would take place in 2011 and another that would occur in 2012. Following the BP Deepwater Horizon spill, the Obama Administration imposed a moratorium on all deepwater drilling activities and later delayed the completion of the 2011 lease sale off the coast of Virginia until 2017, at the earliest. While the Administration has recently approved a limited number of drilling permits, the process for developing leases remains extraordinarily slow.   

H.R. 1230 requires the Department to conduct all 4 lease sales scheduled for 2011 and 2012 by June 1, 2012.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates the bill will reduce federal spending by $25 million from Fiscal Year 2011 to 2016, and an additional $40 million over the subsequent ten year period.

H.R. 1230 passed the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 266 to 149.