Republicans are fuming after President Obama reversed his position on offshore oil and gas exploration and will now refuse to allow the sale of leases to energy companies to work off the Atlantic coast from Florida to Virginia.
Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, is a member of the House Natural Resources Committee. He told WND and Radio America this is par for the course with President Obama.
“Once again, he has shown that it is the exception when he keeps his word, rather than the rule,” said Gohmert, who offered examples of a longstanding pattern of broken Obama promises. “If you like your insurance, you can keep it. If you like your doctor, you can keep it. For me, marriage is between a man and a woman.'”
Gohmert also cited a famous movie to scold anyone who thought Obama would keep his word on allowing offshore drilling.
“I’m constantly reminded of that scene in ‘Animal House,’ where the older fraternity brother puts his arm around Flounder after they’ve just demolished his brother’s car. He basically says, ‘Hey, you messed up. You trusted us,'” Gohmert said.
“President Obama has just good-naturedly said, ‘Oh, you actually thought I was going to keep that promise and let you drill out there because that would make us energy independent. You fools. Don’t you realize I just gave Iran a hundred billion dollars? Do you think I’m really going to be serious about becoming energy independent?'”
Sen. David Vitter, R-La, is the former chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. He said the administration is deliberately trying to deny revenue to the states.
“Keeping the Atlantic off-limits basically establishes a second moratorium, which has been an objective of the Obama administration for years now, despite the significant economic contributions of the oil and gas industry,” said Vitter in a statement. “I will continue fighting the Obama administration’s anti-energy and anti-jobs agenda.”
While energy companies are crying foul in the wake of the Obama policy reversal, environmental groups are rejoicing because they see offshore oil and gas drilling as a threat to the environment both in general and in the event of a disaster like the 2010 Deepwater Horizon episode in the Gulf of Mexico.
Gohmert said ecological fears over offshore exploration have persisted for years, and his state is proof those concerns are unwarranted.
“I remember when I was little and people said, ‘No, if you let them drill off the coast, it’ll kill off all the fishing,'” Gohmert said. “They started drilling and nowadays, most everybody on the coast knows that the drilling platforms have been a haven and have been a real boon to fishing.”
Listen to the WND/Radio America interview with Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas:
The congressman said fish and other aquatic life enjoy the drilling rigs so much, old platforms are being converted into artificial reefs. Beyond that, he said there wouldn’t be any eyesores at the beaches since the policy on the Atlantic coast was for all exploration to occur at least 50 miles away from shore.
Vitter said the Obama policy actually hurts environmental efforts. He sponsors legislation that would allow states to gain more revenue from drilling and use the money to preserve the environment.
“We in Louisiana put our offshore oil revenue directly into coastal restoration, which is absolutely vital since we’re losing the size of a football field of land every hour,” Vitter said.
So what can proponents of offshore drilling do? Gohmert said to go after the money.
“We have the power of the purse to force him to do what he should do,” Gohmert said. “The only way we hold his feet to the fire is to get both houses that will protect our roles under the Constitution.”
Gohmert said lawmakers need to target whatever funding Obama cares about most, from appropriations for the Environmental Protection Agency to taxpayer payments for Obama’s vacations and golf outings.
He believes House Republicans have the votes to force Obama’s hand, but he said Senate GOP leaders need to be ready for a fight.
Gohmert said, “It’s going to take Republican leaders in the Senate to be a leader and say, ‘I’m reclaiming majority leader status that I’ve had for over a year. I just haven’t used it. We’re going to use it now, and we’re going to stop the president from violating the law.'”