Salazar: Congress Should Ratify Mexico Offshore Oil Pact This Year

Salazar: Congress Should Ratify Mexico Offshore Oil Pact This Year

WASHINGTON -- Congress should act this year to ratify an agreement allowing oil and gas drilling along the maritime border between the U.S. and Mexico, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said Tuesday.

The agreement, which would open up an area the size of Delaware to exploration, has already been confirmed by Mexico's legislature, Salazar said in a speech calling for action on U.S. energy policy. "We shouldn't have to wait to act on the agreement either," he said. "Congress should act."

Both the House and Senate need to pass legislation implementing the Mexico agreement, an administration official said. The administration is also speaking with the Senate about whether the agreement constitutes a treaty that would require an additional Senate vote to confirm, the official said.

Salazar, speaking at the National Press Club, chided the Republican-led House of Representatives, saying the energy-related debates there often reflected "fairy tales and falsehoods" about energy policy and the Obama administration's approach to it.

He said lawmakers should move this year to make "tax credits for renewable energy generation permanent and refundable so there is financial certainty." It would only take a few days, he added, for Congress to pass a law that makes permanent the organizational and regulatory changes the Interior Department made in response to the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

"I am not trying to give a laundry list of things," Salazar said, acknowledging the unlikelihood of Congress taking up major legislation in an election year. "These are simple things."

"This House of Representatives should put the energy security of the United States of America ahead of the politics of the time," he said.

Salazar also defended the Obama administration's record, saying it has been supportive of oil and natural gas development, but has no "silver bullet" to lower gasoline prices in the near-term.

Copyright (c) 2012 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.


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Philippe | Apr. 25, 2012
When are we going to get rid of Salazar? We his should keep him in the "Interior" of office and never get out.

bill | Apr. 25, 2012
The recent drilling boom has taken place in spite of the president and his lack of support. The various resource plays have created tens of thousands of new millionaires many of which previously depended on farm subsidies to keep the family farm alive and make ends meet. It is fact that the number of new millionaires is skewing the disparity statistic in a good way but the media would have you believe the less fortunate are falling further behind. Not true; the pie is getting bigger thanks to gas and oil. The critics point to the finite amount of gas & oil available as a non-sustainable source when compared to renewables. Redistribution of wealth is even more finite. You can tax the entire country at 100% of income and it wont fund the government and pay off the deficit.

Trey Cowan | Apr. 24, 2012
The Administration may not have a silver bullet but relaxing EPA standards on gasoline sold in metropolitan areas (i.e. reformulated vs conventional blends) would lower the costs of gasoline production by at least 15 cents. For the average family with two cars this would amount to savings of ~ $25 per month in higher traffic areas. But dont hold your breath on this Administration ever even mentioning this option, regardless of what they claim about wanting to help the less fortunate.


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