The House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources heard from the governor of North Carolina and members of Congress – including Natural Resources Committee chairman Utah Rep. Rob Bishop – that the Obama Administration’s new five-year offshore leasing plan does not go far enough to develop energy reserves in the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf (OCS).
Those testifying spoke about the potential for oil and natural gas exploration and development closer to shore than the 50-mile limit the draft proposed five-year plan imposes, and the need to expand the areas available for lease.
Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee Chairman Doug Lamborn of Colorado said:
The Obama Administration often touts that it is committed to promoting oil and gas production on federal lands, including the Outer Continental Shelf. However their draft five year lease plan contains the lowest number of lease sales in history and it can only get worse because there is no guarantee that even those few sales will remain in the final plan. Instead of continuing to lock away our energy resources, this Administration should commit to an aggressive offshore leasing strategy that clearly demonstrates a strong commitment to OCS oil and gas production that will provide for our nation's long-term energy security.
A report prepared by Quest Offshore Resources found that opening more parts of the OCS and Gulf of Mexico to oil and natural gas development could grow the U.S. economy by $70 billion a year, create nearly 840,000 new jobs, and generate $200 billion in government revenue by 2035. With benefits like those, it’s easy to see why so many of our leaders think our new five-year plan falls short of the mark.