Republicans Vitter, Bishop Plan Legislation to Boost Oil Output

Senator David Vitter of Louisiana and Representative Rob Bishop of Utah, both Republicans, will propose legislation this week aimed at raising U.S. oil production to help cut reliance on foreign imports.

The lawmakers are seeking to open additional areas for drilling and speed the process for issuing exploration permits, Luke Bolar, Vitter’s spokesman, said today in a telephone interview.

“This bill reduces our dependence on foreign oil -- often from countries with unstable leaders like Muammar Qaddafi,” Vitter said in a reference to the Libyan colonel. “It would put many more Americans back to work than any of the other ‘job creation’ plans we’ve seen before Congress, while also reducing our federal and trade deficits.”

The bill would expand offshore drilling, change the permitting process and revise the Clean Air Act, Bolar said, declining to provide details before the bill is released.

Oil prices advanced 27 percent in the past year as political unrest spread from Tunisia and Egypt to Libya, Yemen, Bahrain and Syria. The U.S. let six operators start exploring in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico, work that was banned after the April 20 BP Plc oil spill.

Vitter and Bishop introduced a similar bill in the previous Congress.

-- Editors: Steve Geimann, Larry Liebert