Alexander: U.S. Must Increase Offshore Oil and Gas Development

Asks Department of Interior to expand offshore drilling to all areas in Outer Continental Shelf, improve U.S. energy security

Posted on August 26, 2014

“There is no reason we shouldn’t be using all the resources we have available to increase our energy security, create more jobs at home and reduce our reliance on oil from countries that want to do us harm.”– Lamar Alexander

WASHINGTON, Aug. 26, 2014 – U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today announced he joined a letter to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior, requesting that the department make all offshore oil and gas resources in the Outer Continental Shelf available for oil and gas exploration and development. 

“By expanding energy research and development to all areas in the Outer Continental Shelf, we will be able to make more of our own energy resources available to power our economy,” Alexander said. “There is no reason we shouldn’t be using all the resources we have available to increase our energy security, create more jobs at home and reduce our reliance on oil from countries that want to do us harm.”

The letter, led by Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) was signed by 21 Republican senators and requests that all offshore oil and gas resources in the Outer Continental Shelf be included in the department’s “Five Year Program.” Including all of these resources in the Five Year Program would allow for these areas to be offered for oil and gas leasing, which could expand offshore drilling. 

The full text of the letter is available below: 

Dear Secretary Jewell: 

There is no issue more important to our nation than energy security. With our allies under threat, our friends under attack, and our enemies on the move, continued exploration and production of energy from federal lands in the United States is absolutely vital. Our offshore resources, which the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act of 1953 declares “should be made available for expeditious and orderly development,” are critical to this effort.

As you proceed with planning the next Five Year Program (2017-2022), we urge you to reconsider the Administration’s disappointing decision not to include lease sales in the Atlantic region in the current program, contrary to the original vision for OCS development during this time period.  In addition to the areas in Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico that are presently open to exploration and production, the new program should include lease sales in the Arctic, the Atlantic Ocean and Cook Inlet in Alaska, and retain area-wide leasing. Shifting to targeted lease sales in Alaska or elsewhere could prematurely preclude access to and development of vital oil and gas resources.

We must not return to the constrained vision of the past wherein America’s resources remain untapped just off our coastline. As the next program is finalized, please know that we will only support a leasing program that continues to develop in current exploration areas and includes new access in areas such as Alaska and the Atlantic regions.

Sincerely,

 

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