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Doc Hastings
House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (R-Wash.) has pushed three bills through his committee aimed at boosting oil and gas production in the gulf as well as off both coasts and the Arctic.

The Center opposes expanded drilling on the East and West coasts, but supports drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, but not close to the Florida coast.

One bill would:
1) Overhaul the permitting process to make it faster, which in some cases means jettisoning the more exacting reviews put in place after the BP spill.

2) Require the interior secretary to act on a permit to drill within 30 days; if no decision is made after a maximum of 60 days, the permit would be granted.

3) Restart within 30 days gulf permits that were approved last year before the spill. Eleven exploration wells that were suspended in the gulf have been given permission to drill again, according to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement.
Another bill would:
1) Expand drilling by establishing the first national production goal as part of Interior’s five-year offshore leasing plan; it would include lease sales in the areas containing the greatest-known oil and gas reserves.
Interestingly, oil companies have yet to produce oil and gas on the majority of the 75 million acres where they hold federal leases. (Wash Post, 5/3/2011)