NOIA bemoans removal of Atlantic lease sale

offshore supportOffshore Support Journal | May 5, 2016

Not long ago, the idea of exploring for oil on the Atlantic coast of the US seemed on the cards, and Atlantic states stood to benefit hugely from demand for products and services. Now, even Time magazine has waded into the debate about the Obama administration’s controversial decision to reverse its 2015 plan to open up waters off the coasts of Virginia, the Carolinas and Georgia to offshore drilling.

In a story entitled ‘We can’t afford to say ‘no’ to US energy,’ Time magazine said, “Officials claim the new decision to ban oil drilling will protect national security. It will do the opposite.” The magazine claimed that the administration, under what it called “constant pressure from environmentalists”, has long had an ambivalent view of offshore oil exploration. Plans to open up this part of the Atlantic Ocean for drilling have been on the drawing board for years.

“Last year, the administration’s opposition appeared to have softened,” said Time. “In January 2015, the White House released a statement proposing to auction drilling rights in up to 104 million acres of the mid and South-Atlantic in 2021. At the time, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell noted: ‘This plan takes a balanced approach to oil and gas development. It protects areas that are just too special to develop.’ … Now, the administration has reversed course.”

In response to the about-turn by the Obama administration, the president of the National Ocean Industries Association (NOIA), Randall Luthi, issued the following statement: “The good news is that there are still offshore lease sales planned in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaskan Arctic. The bad news is the disappointing and mind-boggling removal of Atlantic Lease Sale 260 from the 2017–2022 OCS Oil and Gas Leasing Proposed Program. This is a short-sighted political decision of an administration influenced by the radical and extreme minority devoted to keeping fossil fuels in the ground. The removal is not based upon science or good energy policy, and will certainly inhibit the economic opportunities and energy security of our country.

Read the full story here.