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“For the past year, offshore energy operations in the Gulf have been sidelined – leaving thousands of out of work, Hastings said in a statement. “Rigs have left the Gulf for foreign counties, and with gasoline prices rising toward $4 per gallon, the United States cannot afford to shutter American energy production.”
The Natural Resources panel approved three separate drilling measures last week, including one to expedite oil exploration off the Gulf Coast. Sens. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), the chairman and ranking member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, are expected to reintroduce a drilling safety measure in the coming weeks. The legislation, which would reform drilling regulations, was approved by the panel last year but never made it to the floor.