Wicker Says Congress Should Follow President’s Lead, Lift Deep Sea Energy Ban

July 14, 2008

WASHINGTON – Following today’s move by President Bush to lift the executive ban on deep sea energy exploration, U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., said Congress should move quickly to approve legislation that does the same. 

“With today’s presidential action, the congressional moratorium on deep sea energy exploration remains the only thing standing in the way of American consumers and more domestic energy production,” Wicker said.  “With record-high gas prices, the American public is in clear support of more American-made energy.  Congress should move quickly to lift the ban on America’s deep sea energy reserves in order to place us on the road to energy independence and lower gas prices.”

Prior to President Bush’s action today, there were two bans restricting offshore domestic energy production.  One is imposed by Congress and the other was the executive ban put in place by President George H.W. Bush in 1990.  Now that the administrative ban has been lifted, the congressional ban is all that remains.

Sen. Wicker is a cosponsor of the Gas Price Reduction Act (S. 3202), legislation that allows for deep sea exploration of the estimated 14 billion barrels of oil off our Atlantic and Pacific coasts.  The bill would also lift the moratorium on oil shale development in the Rocky Mountain West, where there is an estimated two trillion barrels of recoverable oil in only three states.  Additionally, the measure would increase investment in electric car technology to help lessen our country’s reliance on fossil fuels.   

Wicker has also pushed for action on the American Energy Production Act (S. 2958), legislation that would produce up to 24 billion barrels of oil – enough to supply America without foreign imports for five years.  The measure would utilize domestic deep sea energy sources while also allowing for the exploration in a small portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) in Alaska.  Additionally, the legislation would make billions more barrels of American-made fuel available through the development of coal-to-liquid technology and oil shale.