In this week’s address, President Obama laid out his strategy to continue to expand responsible and safe domestic oil production, leveraging existing authorities as part of his long-term plan to reduce our reliance on foreign oil. He is directing the Department of the Interior to conduct annual lease sales in Alaska’s National Petroleum Reserve – while respecting sensitive areas, to speed up the evaluation of oil and gas resources in the mid and south Atlantic, and to create new incentives for industry to develop their unused leases both on and offshore. Also, to give companies more time to meet higher safety standard for exploration and drilling, the administration is extending drilling leases in areas of the Gulf of Mexico that were impacted by the temporary moratorium, as well as certain leases off the coast of Alaska. And, he is establishing a new interagency working group to ensure that Arctic development projects meet health, safety and environmental standards. The past few months, rising gas prices have put an added strain on American families. While there are no quick fixes to the problem, these are steps, along with eliminating taxpayer subsidies for oil companies and rooting out fraud and manipulation in the markets, that are worth taking.
First, we should make sure that no one is taking advantage of consumers at the pump. That’s why we’ve launched a task force led by the Attorney General that has one job: rooting out cases of fraud or manipulation in the markets that might affect gas prices, including any illegal activity by traders and speculators.
Second, we should increase safe and responsible oil production here at home. Last year, America’s oil production reached its highest level since 2003. But I believe that we should expand oil production in America – even as we increase safety and environmental standards.
To do this, I am directing the Department of Interior to conduct annual lease sales in Alaska’s National Petroleum Reserve, while respecting sensitive areas, and to speed up the evaluation of oil and gas resources in the mid and south Atlantic. We plan to lease new areas in the Gulf of Mexico as well, and work to create new incentives for industry to develop their unused leases both on and offshore.
We’re also taking steps to give companies time to meet higher safety standards when it comes to exploration and drilling. That’s why my Administration is extending drilling leases in areas of the Gulf that were impacted by the temporary moratorium, as well as certain areas off the coast of Alaska. And to streamline that permitting process, I am establishing a new team to coordinate work on Alaska drilling permits.