Thompson Questions President’s Commitment to Energy Security, Job Creation; Committee Oversight Work Focuses on Workforce Concerns and Deepwater Oil Tragedy

Jan 27, 2011 Issues: Education, Energy

Washington, D.C. — Yesterday, Representative Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson participated in two of the first congressional oversight hearings of the 112th Congress under the new Republican-led majority.  Thompson’s first hearing with the House Education & Workforce Committee, entitled “State of the American Workforce,” focused on the Administration’s efforts to grow the economy and support job creation.  Among the witnesses was Governor Bob McDonnell of Virginia. 

Thompson questioned Governor McDonnell with regard to the Administration’s unilateral move to cancel offshore oil and gas production following the Deepwater Horizon Incident in the Gulf of Mexico.  The proposed lease sale for energy producing areas of the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) off the state of Virginia was abruptly withdrawn by the federal government following the Gulf oil spill, despite a previous announcement by the Administration to move forward with the planned sale.

Governor McDonnell suggested that Virginia did not play a role in the decision to discontinue the planned lease sale.  Although, according to McDonnell, the Secretary of Interior did contact him by phone an hour before the President acted to cancel the action. McDonnell commented, “I didn’t think we ought to give up and write off an entire industry that could create tremendous capital investment in jobs at this time in America, and that I was very disappointed.” Thompson expressed his support for the Governor’s position and went on to outline the long-history of the oil and gas industry’s ability to positively coexist with the commercial fishing, shipping, recreation and tourism industries, and military operations off America’s coastline.

Later in the day, the House Natural Resources Committee, a new appointment for Thompson, held an oversight hearing of the President’s National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.  Thompson highlighted how America’s energy and workforce needs are inextricably linked, and how the Administration’s policies, before and since the Deepwater tragedy, have lacked coherence, increased our dependence on foreign oil and increased our energy costs including the price of gasoline.  Following completion of the oversight proceedings, Thompson offered the following statement:

“The Administration’s actions contradict the President’s commitment to energy security during the State of the Union Address. The Deepwater spill was a terrible tragedy, but it should not be used by the Obama Administration as an excuse to constrain America’s domestic energy production and force further job losses.  This will raise energy prices, undermine our nation’s path to a long-term, sustainable energy plan and stifle the American workforce.  The families of the Fifth District and across the country rely on steady paying industry jobs and access to an affordable energy supply, and we’ll continue to ensure the White House’s actions live up to their rhetoric. It’s time to work together and find commonsense solutions to our nation’s economic and energy needs.”

To view highlights from Wednesday’s House Education & Workforce Committee oversight hearing, “State of the American Workforce,” click here.

To view highlights from the House Natural Resources Committee oversight hearing on the President Obama’s National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, click here