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05 21, 2012 by The Times-Picayune
U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise, R-Metairie, is set to lead a bipartisan congressional delegation on a tour of offshore drilling facilities and to meet with energy industry representatives this Thursday and Friday. Scalise said that Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., will join him and three others to visit a drilling rig and an offshore oil production platform. According to Scalise's office, Rep. Gene Green, a Democrat from Houston, will also be there, along with Republicans Steven Palazzo of Mississippi and John Sullivan of Oklahoma.
Scalise was a leading opponent of a five-month moratorium on deepwater drilling imposed by the Obama administration during and after the 2010 BP oil spill. He has been critical of the reconstituted regulatory body for offshore energy production, saying it has hurt the economy and choked off jobs with slow permit approvals.
But job losses were not nearly what Scalise and others feared when the moratorium was imposed, and the oil companies have largely accepted the idea that significant safety improvements had to be made to continue to expand dangerous deepwater exploration.
"This tour will provide the Members with a better understanding of the skills and technology involved in offshore energy production and how it is critical to America's energy security," Scalise said in announcing the tour. "Increasing domestic energy exploration and production is a proven way to create millions more American jobs while lowering gas prices at the pump and reducing our dependence on Middle Eastern oil."
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