The administration’s decision to remove key Arctic and Atlantic offshore areas from future leasing consideration ignores congressional intent, our national security and vital, good-paying job opportunities for our shipyards, unions and businesses of all types across the country, according to American Petroleum Institute (API) Upstream Director Erik Milito.
“Our national security depends on our ability to produce oil and natural gas here in the United States,” said Milito. “This proposal would take us in the wrong direction just as we have become world leader in production and refining of oil and natural gas and in reduction of carbon emissions. Blocking offshore exploration weakens our national security, destroys good-paying jobs and could make energy less affordable for consumers. Fortunately, there is no such thing as a permanent ban, and we look forward to working with the new administration on fulfilling the will of American voters on energy production.”
A permanent withdrawal conflicts with Congress’s stated purpose in creating the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA), which was to make the outer continental shelf “available for expeditious and orderly development.” In addition, a permanent and unilateral withdrawal by the president conflicts directly with the special role that OCSLA gives governors in OCS leasing decisions. Past instances show that the next president has power to undo a 12(a) withdrawal through a presidential memorandum. In 2008, President George W. Bush used a simple memorandum to remove previous 12(a) withdrawal areas and make all OCS lands available for leasing except marine sanctuaries.
“We are hopeful the incoming administration will reverse this decision as the nation continues to need a robust strategy for developing offshore and onshore energy,” said Milito. “The U.S. offshore industry has a long history of safe operations that have advanced the energy security of our nation and contributed significantly to our nation’s economy.”
API is the only national trade association representing all facets of the oil and natural gas industry.