Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, released the following statement in response to legislation announced Tuesday by the leadership of the House Committee on Natural Resources, that would allow for new offshore oil and gas development, including California.

“Here we go again. House Republicans are making a promise to American families they simply can’t deliver. They’re telling the public that new offshore drilling will bring them relief from $4 per gallon gasoline. Here’s the harsh reality: We cannot drill our way out of this problem. We don’t have the oil. And we’re never going to have it.

“New drilling off our shores will do nothing to lower the price of gas or make us any more energy independent. The high prices Americans currently are suffering through are the results of the failed Bush-era energy strategy that made us more reliant on foreign oil, left consumers paying much more at the pump and let giant oil companies rake in record profits.

“It’s time to focus on what America does have, like clean, renewable resources and the know-how to make them work for us now and in the future. For example, we are finally making real progress developing more fuel-efficient cars right here in America, and homes and business that use less energy. We are producing more energy from solar, wind and wave energy technologies and building an industry that can dominate this huge and growing worldwide industry.

“If we continue to look to offshore drilling to lower gas prices, in 10 years our economy will still be paying high gas prices and will still be tied to fossil fuels and the unstable and often unfriendly countries that produce them like a dead weight.

“New rigs in the waters off California would expose our fragile marine environment and coastal businesses to the threat of a catastrophic oil spill. The people of Santa Barbara and South Coast have indicated time and time again their opposition to new oil drilling. We learned the hard way how much environmental and economic damage can be caused by a major oil spill, and can’t afford another spill or accident.

“California is looking forward to a 21st-century energy policy, not backwards, and House Republicans should do the same.”

— Ashley Schapitl is press secretary for Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara.