Hurricanes Heap Energy Supply Problems On United States

Posted on Friday, October 28 at 14:14 by jensonj
Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman joined Norton at the Senate Energy and Commerce Committee hearing and told lawmakers the nation is dealing with an "extraordinary situation by the one-two punch of Katrina and Rita." More than 50 percent of the Gulf Coast’s oil and gas pipelines are either damaged or offline and 16 natural gas processing plants remain closed, according to the Energy Department. "The hurricanes have clearly demonstrated the need for diversification of our energy supply," said Norton, who praised Congress for moving forward to open the Arctic Refuge to oil and gas drilling and touted the administration’s efforts to boost drilling in the West. But lawmakers pressured the administration to push more aggressively offshore - in particular an area off the coast of Florida known as Lease 181. The area, close to the Florida Panhandle in the eastern Gulf of Mexico, is not restricted under the federal moratorium that bars oil and gas development in some federal waters. It was approved for leasing under the Clinton administration, but the Bush administration declared it off limits under an agreement with Florida Governor Jeb Bush, the President's brother. "181 has to be done," said Committee Chairman Pete Domenici, a New Mexico Republican. "We have been told it is the most significant act that can be taken to stabilize and possibly reduce the cost of natural gas. This shouldn’t be delayed." Norton said the Interior Department is revising its five year plan for lease sales in the region and the earliest it could open the area is July 2007. http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/oct2005/2005-10-27-10.asp

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