House Dem calls for drilling push

A top Democrat in the US House of Representatives has come out in support of expediting a push for new drilling permits in the US.

Representative Steny Hoyer of Maryland, speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill, said he supports drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, Alaska and “other places”.

“Drill. Use it. Go ahead. We’re for that,” said Hoyer, House Democratic whip. “I agree with Republicans. We ought to get permits approved, and they ought to be accelerated.”

The comment comes as the House prepares to vote on two measures designed to expand leasing acreage for oil and gas development on the nation’s Outer Continental Shelf and expedite the issuance of drilling permits for new deep-water wells in the Gulf of Mexico.

Hoyer added that while he supports drilling, he does not believe it would have much short-term effect on US gasoline prices, now averaging nearly $4 per gallon.

The Maryland Democrat, like President Barack Obama, believes that fuel prices are being manipulated by market speculators.

Hoyer also agreed that rolling back tax breaks for oil and gas companies would not increase gasoline prices.

Hoyer’s pro-drilling comments come on the heels of Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner’s comments about needing to look at possibly axing the tax breaks for oil companies.

The flexibility on display by both parties may indicate that a compromise on meaningful energy legislation could be on the table.

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