New Offshore Drilling Plan Will Reverse Obama Restrictions, Unleash US Energy Dominance

offshore drilling energyAmerica is moving forward in its march toward energy dominance, and the Trump administration just took an important step forward in achieving that goal.

In unveiling its draft five-year Outer Continental Shelf leasing plan on Thursday, the Interior Department is reversing the Obama administration’s “Keep it in the Ground” anti-energy policy.

An abundance of untapped energy lies beneath America’s ground and off the coasts. For six years, America has been the world’s largest petroleum and natural gas producer, supporting more than 10 million jobs and contributing more than $1.3 trillion to the economy.

The increase in energy supplies has lowered prices for households and businesses. Families are saving hundreds, if not more than $1,000 each year on electricity bills and home-heating costs, and paying less at the gas pump.

It also means companies around the country devote less money to paying energy bills and more to investing in labor and capital.

All of these benefits have accrued to Americans, despite the fact that the Obama administration made a majority of America’s coastal waters off-limits to natural resources exploration and production.

In fact, 94 percent of federal offshore acreage is off-limits to development. The United States is the only country in the world that has placed a majority of its territorial waters off-limits to natural resources extraction.

Until now, that is.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s draft plan is the first part of a multiyear process that would make more than 90 percent of the total federal acreage available, which includes 98 percent of the undiscovered, technically recoverable oil and gas resources in the Outer Continental Shelf.

As highlighted by Interior’s press release:

The Draft Proposed Program … includes 47 potential lease sales in 25 of the 26 planning areas—19 sales off the coast of Alaska, seven in the Pacific region, 12 in the Gulf of Mexico, and nine in the Atlantic region. This is the largest number of lease sales ever proposed for the National Outer Continental Shelf Program’s five-year lease schedule.

The 47 potential lease sales top the number of sales listed in President Ronald Reagan’s two submissions of 41 and 42.

At several points in time, offshore drilling was not such a partisan issue. When President Jimmy Carter, a Democrat, made his 1979 energy speech, he said, “We will step up exploration and production of oil and gas on federal lands.”

As a result, the Carter administration’s Interior Department proposed 36 lease sales. As recently as 2013, both Democratic senators from Virginia offered legislation to open parts of the Atlantic to offshore development.

It’s understandable why.

Offshore drilling is a critical component of the Gulf of Mexico economy, one of the limited areas where offshore activity takes place in federal waters.

Recognizing that offshore resource exploration is systematically safe, the energy industry has a very strong relationship with the seafood and tourism industries. In fact, Louisiana hosts a Shrimp and Petroleum Festival each year.

Despite the Deepwater Horizon incident that adversely affected the Gulf environmentally and economically, there was a broad recognition among these three industries that the blanket drilling moratorium was bad policy and bad for the region as a whole.

The economic benefits of realizing America’s true energy potential could be significant. Opening the Atlantic and Pacific Outer Continental Shelves and the eastern Gulf of Mexico could create more than 800,000 jobs by 2035.

Increased supplies, which could equate to as much as 3.5 million barrels of oil per day, would lower prices for families.

Furthermore, federal and state governments would stand to benefit as well, since increased production would increase revenues from bonus bids (for new leases), royalties, rents, and increased economic activity.

By 2035, the federal government could collect more than $200 billion in revenue. With the country burdened with massive amounts of federal debt, policymakers should welcome the potential for revenue generation.

No one knows where oil prices will be once the Interior Department finalizes the plan. Therefore, it’s difficult to fully project where the industry will invest.

Nevertheless, the market will determine what areas the oil and gas companies will pursue. The federal government should not stand in its way.

It’s encouraging to see Interior take a hatchet to a long-standing barrier to energy dominance and improved economic well-being.

From - The Daily Signal - by Nicolas Loris

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3 years ago

I just made a comment on this subject a couple days and I received a couple dislikes. Now that its their idea, its a topic of interest. I suggested we dominate energy in every way possible. We could sell oil below market value, forcing Russia and OPEC and who ever else to drop their prices until they were losing their shirt. The US could recoup their cost by ending welfare to other countries, cutting UN contributions by a lot, I’m tired, there is many ways for US to recoup. We could literally dominate like never before. But for some odd reason, when i brought this up, it was dissed. I know, i have a lot of good ideas.

3 years ago

While this reversal of yet another Obama-era executive and regulatory over-reach is great news on so many levels, somehow I get the nagging feeling that virtually every Democrat Governor of every coastal blue state will fight allowing any form of oil or natural gas exploration or drilling off their shores in federal court. Maybe it is because several Democrat Governors have already stated that is exactly what they intend to do right after this announcement was made. Surprise!…NOT!!! Ever so predictable Democrat response to virtually anything of economic or societal benefit to the United States and its citizens. So while most of the Gulf of Mexico red state Governors except for Florida’s, who has already stated he will join with Democrats to fight any off-shore drilling, may rejoice in all the new economic activity and jobs, much of the country will get to read endless news reports of how this policy is being litigated and delayed through our court system.

Unlike the absurd restrictions many of these same Democrat Governors have enacted in their own states regarding conventional oil and natural gas drilling or fracking, where the people bearing the brunt of economic pain and weaker job markets are largely only the citizens of those states, this decision by these same Governors will impact the entire country. Energy independence and the potential to achieve it is also a national security concern for the entire country. Keeping over 85 percent of our off-shore areas off limits, the area off blue states and Florida, while those blue state Governors slow-walk this litigation through the federal courts system for several years is a total disgrace.

3 years ago
Reply to  PaulE

Obama professed that he would open up offshore drilling on the east coast during his election campaign. I didn’t believe it would happen then, for the same reason you don’t believe it will happen now. I was right. You probably will be , too. How do you calculate or compensate lost revenue from an oil spill at even one of the resort towns that populate the entire eastern seaboard?
But it goes deeper. Hitler lost the Battle of the Bulge because he ran out of petrol. In a protracted war, whoever runs out of oil first, loses. Whose oil do we want to consume in times of “peace”? Before going to war, there was a purge, or ethnic cleansing in Germany and its surrounding countries. What is happening today in Iran and Syria? Is history repeating itself? I don’t know. But better to err on the side of caution. Owners of oil reserves must understand that they don’t only own a commodity, but an essential part of national security.

3 years ago
Reply to  Hank

Just a quick update to my original post Hank. The Trump administration has declared that they are rescinding their order to open up the coastal waters off Florida to any oil or natural gas exploration or drilling. Both the east and west coast of Florida will now remain “no drill zones” after the Republican Governor of Florida and Marco Rubio met with members of the administration last night. So one of the most likely geological areas to have substantial oil and natural gas reserves is once again off limits. See how fast the Democrat Governors of all the other coastal states jump on this as a rationale to get their states removed from President Trump’s executive order. I’m sure the Democrats will find some progressive federal circuit court justice to issue a restraining order on the sales of federal off-shore leases until this matter is concluded by the courts. What Democrats have done since day one of Trump’s Presidency. Obstruct and delay and then complain to the media how nothing is getting done by the administration. Aside from Alaska, which actually wants to get going with off-shore exploration and drilling as soon as possible, the odds of getting off-shore leases sold and drilling actually started off the Democrat controlled coastal states of the continental U.S. just took a big hit.

By the way, Obama intentionally allowed BP’s Deepwater Horizon to dump oil and burn out of control as long as it did so he could justify his imposition of banning off-shore drilling in the first place. Never let a crisis go to waste as the democrats like to say. By refusing to allow emergency response experts and ships from other oil companies and other nations to quickly get involved, Obama created an intentional PR disaster for off-shore drilling. His refusal to temporarily suspend the Jones Act, which would have allowed for specialty ships from all over the world, who offered to help, access to not only contain the spill, but clean up the oil before it reached shore, allowed him to create the picture of oil covered birds for the media to feast on. He micro-managed the accident the same way he micro-managed the war against ISIS to achieve the same result. What would have been a relatively small spill and fire was allowed to fester into a full-blown disaster. Just so he could justify the drilling ban.

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