Last year, when federal officials released the proposal for the next five-year offshore drilling plan, we said the draft had some positive aspects but fell short of the kind of strategic offshore planning that would adequately serve America’s role as an energy superpower. We also noted strong support for offshore development by mid-Atlantic states, where operations could occur under the draft plan.
Fast-forward to this month, with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) expected to reassess a plan that would be the blueprint for offshore energy development from 2017 through 2022. The need for a robust offshore leasing plan remains critically important – and the plan should retain the single Atlantic lease sale that was included in BOEM’s draft.Members of Congress recently urged this in a letter to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell:
“According to the EIA, Gulf of Mexico production is estimated to increase to record high levels in 2017. This increase in production is a result of the leasing decisions made a decade or more ago. Knowing that oil and natural gas will be needed for many more decades to come, DOI should not prematurely close the door on future leasing and exploration of the Atlantic OCS. Decisions made today matter.”
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