NOIA statement on Administration’s “No New Access” 5-year OCS Leasing Plan
Background: US Department of the Interior released its proposed final 2012-17 US Outer Continental Shelf leasing program that it said makes areas with the most likely recoverable oil and gas resources—including tracts off Alaska’s Arctic coast—available over the next 5 years.
NOIA President Randall Luthi issued a statement criticising the Administration's proposals as follows:
“A Five Year Leasing Plan is the most definitive policy action an Administration can take regarding our country’s offshore energy development. Because the federal government completely controls the vast resources of the outer continental shelf (OCS), the five year plan is a greater measurement of an administration’s policy decisions than current energy development seen in abundance on state and private lands elsewhere in this country, which are largely outside the scope of federal decision making.
“This deeply disappointing “no new access” plan does not reflect the comprehensive, “all of the above” energy policy touted by the Administration, nor does it keep pace with the energy policies of foreign nations that are expanding their offshore access to develop badly needed oil and natural gas. Taking the entire East and West coasts off the table and further delaying Alaska sales clearly shows this Administration is not following its own advice to lessen our dependence on foreign sources of energy by bolstering production here at home.
“Particularly egregious is the flat out omission of any requested lease sale offshore Virginia, especially in light of the widespread, bipartisan support from the Governor, both US Senators, a majority of Virginia’s congressional delegation, the state legislature, and strong public support within the state. Given Virginia’s inclusion in the previous 2007-2012 plan, this represents a regression in offshore access. Per the plan, a Virginia sale that was originally supposed to take place in 2011 is now postponed indefinitely and may not even be considered again until at least 2017. An indefinite delay does not constitute a “pause” in moving access forward but is, at a minimum, kicking the can down the road for another day. For those waiting on the energy, jobs, and revenues that come with new access, waiting at least another five years simply makes no sense at all.
“Those with new jobs in new energy frontiers, like the Bakken or the Marcellus, should thank their lucky stars that those developments, and the jobs that came with them, were not subject to the multi-year hand wringing and continual delays that we see in the federally controlled opportunities offshore. There are countless jobs to be had with new offshore opportunities. However, for the millions of Americans still looking for work, who might have benefited from a new job because of the opportunities to explore for energy potential in places like offshore Virginia, this missed opportunity is deeply frustrating. It is hard to conclude that a meaningful attempt to create jobs played any role whatsoever in the thinking that developed this flawed plan.
“With the plan proposed as final, no subsequent action from Congress means the benefits of increased access to the OCS, in Virginia and elsewhere, will have to wait another five years to even be considered. We hope Congress will take this opportunity to chart a different course and bolster our nation’s future energy security and reliability, while providing more jobs for American workers.”