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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) today voted in favor of S. 953, the Offshore Production and Safety Act of 2011, to bring an end to the Obama Administration’s de facto moratorium on offshore oil and gas exploration, while improving environmental safety. The bill failed by a vote of 42 to 57.

“Rising gas prices and recent events in the Middle East clearly demonstrate the importance of having access to an ample domestic energy supply which is both affordable and reliable,” Sen. Moran said. “By cancelling numerous oil and gas lease sales last year and refusing to issue new drilling permits within a reasonable amount of time, the Obama Administration stifled our domestic energy sector and the jobs that come with it. It simply lacks common sense for the United States to restrict access to oil and gas exploration at home while continuing to import more than 8 million barrels of oil a day.”

“Higher fuel prices are increasing operating costs for Kansas businesses and are particularly challenging for those living in rural Kansas, who drive long distances each day to work and school,” Sen. Moran continued. “The fact is increased domestic energy production will result in lower energy costs. If we do nothing, gas prices will continue to escalate. The administration has refused to conduct lease sales and issue drilling permits in a timely fashion, so Congress must attempt to fill the void.”

S. 953 would require the Obama Administration to:

  • Move forward with previously scheduled lease sales in the Western and Central Gulf of Mexico as well as the coasts of Virginia and Alaska;
  • Extend existing leases in the Gulf by one year to compensate for time lost during the 2010 drilling moratorium; and
  • Require the Department of Interior to process drilling permits in a timely fashion.

The bill’s passage would also improve the environmental safety of offshore drilling by:

  • Requiring all lessees to develop spill response and containment plans;
  • Establishing a public-private taskforce on oil spill response and mitigation; and
  • Ordering a study on federal response to oil spills by the Comptroller General.

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