7.20.12 - XOM-Missedopportunity_alaska - FEATURED

A missed opportunity on increasing access to U.S. energy supplies

In finalizing its proposed offshore oil and gas leasing program covering the years 2012-2017 recently, the Obama administration announced it was advancing the president’s “directive to continue to expand safe and responsible production of America’s important domestic resources.”

But a closer look at the plan’s details makes one wonder where the expansion is.

The federal government’s proposed five-year leasing plan keeps the vast majority of U.S. offshore areas off-limits for energy development, including the Atlantic Ocean, Pacific Ocean, nearly all of the Eastern Gulf of Mexico and most Alaskan waters. The plan stands in stark contrast to a previous proposal that would have opened up parts of the Atlantic Coast for responsible energy development, and offered the possibility that the Eastern Gulf of Mexico would be opened as well.

The Obama administration later withdrew support for that idea, and now about 85 percent of U.S. offshore areas remain off-limits.

This is in spite of the fact that leaders in several states affected by the ban have expressed interest in opening their waters to energy development.

Senator Lindsey Graham recently revealed a bill that would give South Carolina the option to allow for oil and natural gas exploration from 10 to 50 miles offshore. In proposing his plan, Graham talked about the importance of the “revenue stream for the state of South Carolina” that would accompany oil and gas development.

South Carolina’s plan is similar to one that received bipartisan support in Virginia last year. There, Senators Jim Webb and Mark Warner proposed a bill to allow oil and natural gas exploration and development off the Virginia coast. In 2010, Virginia was poised to become the first state on the Atlantic Coast to allow such development, a plan that the administration halted after the Deepwater Horizon incident. Despite the fact that offshore development returned in the Western and Central Gulf of Mexico, Virginia’s offshore ban has yet to be lifted.

Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell recently talked about this decision in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, saying that when the federal government negated the Virginia lease sale, it also negated the prospect of thousands of new jobs and significant new revenues for the state and local governments. “There is no reason, other than political calculation, that we couldn’t have been home to the East Coast’s first offshore oil and natural gas development,” McDonnell said.

McDonnell went on to say that “Energy is the lifeblood of our nation’s economic growth.”

U.S. energy development supports job creation, both directly in the energy industry and in related goods and service industries. In fact, nine million American jobs can be traced back to the energy industry, according to a recent study.  In a post earlier this week I noted another report suggesting that opening up areas currently off-limits to energy production could create an additional half-million new jobs by 2025.

The industry also generates tax revenues for local, state and federal governments struggling to balance budgets. And, all the while, this activity produces the oil and natural gas that fuels our homes, transportation, businesses and industries.

That’s why the announcement of the administration’s proposed final five-year plan for oil and natural gas leasing represents a lost opportunity. Only when policymakers in Washington recognize the importance of greater access to U.S. energy supplies will our country realize the full benefits of oil and natural gas development from coast to coast.


6 Comments

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  1. TAP Management says:

    The Obama Administration has fallen under scrutiny for preventing oil and natural gas production projects in the United States. Nevertheless, domestic oil and natural gas production has dramatically increased in recent years despite little federal support and a lack of drilling on federal lands or waters. However, the Interior Department recently reported that energy development on federal lands contributed $275 billion to the economy in 2011 and created 1.5 million jobs.

    TAP Management 5125276000 and other domestic energy suppliers are anticipating a more favorable, long-term energy solution that will provide Americans with more affordable energy and create thousands of jobs. A realistic approach to our growing energy demands, combined with a shared vision from our political officials, will make the United States one step closer to achieving energy independence.

    • Gail Horwitz says:

      Energy Independence? You are selling it to the Chinese. Maybe some it going to nearby countries. All this oil and our prices don’t go down, nothing is left for our children and you aren’t paying for the oil you grab. Who are you kidding?

  2. Mike Flores says:

    Has anyone considered saving our oil resources for our children?
    Article should read:
    “A missed opportunity to repeat history of plundering finite
    U.S. energy supplies”

    The Obama administration is on the right path but needs to kickoff
    another Manhattan Project for fusion energy to unleash the equivalent of 240 barrels of oil from 2 gallons of seawater.

    Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and
    expecting different results.
    Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/a/alberteins133991.html#20Bs0iOYzbPL8OyB.99

  3. Deborah Rhein says:

    The perception that the domestic oil and natural gas companies have no support from the current administration is only from the perspective of the domestic oil and natural gas businesses, who would like to continue to do a profitable business and keep their shareholders happy. Of course, innovation is very difficult and we do not like change, but I would like to see these established companies provide faster and more decisive leadership toward creating systems that benefit and enhance us all, instead of the take and “oops, we will clean it up” model… which we are finding out is more cover-up than clean-up. Perhaps this missed opportunity is actually a dodged bullet. I hope we keep dodging them until the bullets are non-lethal. Until then, let us converse and plan a course that will provide growth with minimal impact. I will now say the magic words: please, and thank you.

    • Phillip Williamson says:

      Excellent post, Deborah. Thank you!

      Come on people. It’s time to put our “big boy” pants on and find a solution. “Drill baby drill” isn’t a solution, it’s a slogan.

  4. G. Wayne Hild says:

    I am not so quick to become convinced that the price of fuel in America will be any cheaper,that this crude will only be refined here or it will all be exported elsewhere or that we can in the end even burn all of these reserves as the climate change issue is only a ticking time bomb. I think that we must make other decisions considering where our energy comes from and it should not come from fossil fuels. We must not release all of the ancient sunlight that is tied up in coal, crude oil or natural gas and fracking is destroying our groundwater even if you refuse to admit it. There is no perfect manner to seal any well casing against leakage from one strata to another, especially when you use hydraulic shocking to disturb everything below ground level.

  5. TAP Management says:

    The Obama Administration has fallen under scrutiny for preventing oil and natural gas production projects in the United States. Nevertheless, domestic oil and natural gas production has dramatically increased in recent years despite little federal support and a lack of drilling on federal lands or waters. However, the Interior Department recently reported that energy development on federal lands contributed $275 billion to the economy in 2011 and created 1.5 million jobs.

    TAP Management 5125276000 and other domestic energy suppliers are anticipating a more favorable, long-term energy solution that will provide Americans with more affordable energy and create thousands of jobs. A realistic approach to our growing energy demands, combined with a shared vision from our political officials, will make the United States one step closer to achieving energy independence.

    • Gail Horwitz says:

      Energy Independence? You are selling it to the Chinese. Maybe some it going to nearby countries. All this oil and our prices don’t go down, nothing is left for our children and you aren’t paying for the oil you grab. Who are you kidding?

  6. Mike Flores says:

    Has anyone considered saving our oil resources for our children?
    Article should read:
    “A missed opportunity to repeat history of plundering finite
    U.S. energy supplies”

    The Obama administration is on the right path but needs to kickoff
    another Manhattan Project for fusion energy to unleash the equivalent of 240 barrels of oil from 2 gallons of seawater.

    Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and
    expecting different results.
    Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/a/alberteins133991.html#20Bs0iOYzbPL8OyB.99

  7. Deborah Rhein says:

    The perception that the domestic oil and natural gas companies have no support from the current administration is only from the perspective of the domestic oil and natural gas businesses, who would like to continue to do a profitable business and keep their shareholders happy. Of course, innovation is very difficult and we do not like change, but I would like to see these established companies provide faster and more decisive leadership toward creating systems that benefit and enhance us all, instead of the take and “oops, we will clean it up” model… which we are finding out is more cover-up than clean-up. Perhaps this missed opportunity is actually a dodged bullet. I hope we keep dodging them until the bullets are non-lethal. Until then, let us converse and plan a course that will provide growth with minimal impact. I will now say the magic words: please, and thank you.

    • Phillip Williamson says:

      Excellent post, Deborah. Thank you!

      Come on people. It’s time to put our “big boy” pants on and find a solution. “Drill baby drill” isn’t a solution, it’s a slogan.