Offshore Leasing Plan Ignores Job Opportunities
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The Obama administration’s energy strategy can be best described as “All-of-the-Above” In Name Only (AINO), because they like saying “all-of-the-above” a lot while not actually employing all of our nation’s energy resources.
The latest example is the Interior Department's finalized five-year offshore oil and gas leasing plan. It limits new leasing to 12 potential lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico and three off Alaska’s coast, no real change from last fall’s proposed plan.
When the leasing plan was proposed last November, Karen Harbert, president and CEO of U.S. Chamber’s Institute for 21st Century Energy, said it “rejected the opportunity to create hundreds of thousands of new jobs in this country by taking yet another step to constrain options for increased domestic energy production.”
She was right.
The vast majority of the Eastern Gulf of Mexico continues being off-limits, and any idea of energy development off the Pacific and the Mid-Atlantic doesn’t exist.
In the Mid-Atlantic in particular, leaders in Virginia hoped for more exploration off their state’s coast.
Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell called out the administration:
[T]he plan announced today postpones any future energy development off the coast of Virginia until at least 2017. This delay is unacceptable the vast majority of the citizens of the Commonwealth. It does not help our nation move towards energy independence and it certainly does not help Virginia's workers and economy.
Energy exploration and subsequent production within the Virginia Outer Continental Shelf—if coupled with an equitable formula for sharing revenues between the state and federal governments—would boost domestic energy production, while benefiting the Commonwealth’s economy.
This leasing plan leaves off the table increased energy security and job opportunities. Again, the administration talks a good game about “all-of-the-above,” but it’s just talk.