NOIA Welcomes Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee Hearing on OCS Leasing Program

RandallLuthi_webFor Immediate Release: Thursday, May 19, 2016
Contact:  Justin Williams, (202) 465-8464, jwilliams@nullnoia.org

NOIA Welcomes Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee Hearing on OCS Leasing Program

Washington, D.C. – NOIA President Randall Luthi issued the following statement ahead of the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee Hearing on the 2017-2022 OCS Oil and Gas Leasing Program:

 “I thank Senate Energy & Natural Resources Chairman Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) for her leadership in holding today’s hearing on the 2017-2022 OCS Oil and Gas Leasing Program. As we move closer to the Final Program, it is imperative that our policymakers understand that restricting offshore access, as the Administration did by removing Atlantic Lease Sale 260, forfeits thousands of well-paying American jobs and millions of dollars of much needed government revenue.

“The proposed Atlantic sale was not scheduled until 2021, allowing for five more years of environmental analysis and public dialogue required under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA) before making a final decision on whether to move forward with the sale.  We are also still awaiting Administration action on pending Atlantic seismic surveying permits that, if ever issued, will allow for the collection of modern seismic data to better inform future leasing decisions.

“Instead of continuing this public discussion to better understand the Atlantic’s true resource potential and bolster America’s energy security, the Administration chose to stop the process in its tracks.  And they did so despite the following factors:

  • Bipartisan support from all four Governors in VA, NC, SC and GA
  • Bipartisan support of all eight U.S. Senators in VA, NC, SC and GA
  • Support of a majority of all four Congressional delegations from VA, NC, SC and GA
  • Support of a majority of the more than 1 million public comments received
  • Support of a majority of citizens in all four states onshore from the Lease Sale
  • Decades of real-world examples in the Gulf of Mexico as to the compatibility of oil & gas with military training, tourism, and fishing.

“Given this wave of support for Atlantic leasing, demonstrated oil and gas compatibility with other industries in the Gulf of Mexico, and five additional years before the sale to work out any remaining issues, the Administration’s decision to preemptively and unilaterally turn their back on such a promising opportunity was clearly based on the ideology of a vocal few rather than the merit of a rational, scientifically-backed approach.  Director Hopper has the unenviable task today of attempting to justify this brazenly political decision.

“On Tuesday, the Alaskan Congressional Delegation submitted a letter to the Department of Interior encouraging the Administration to keep the Arctic in the Final Program. NOIA applauds this letter, and stresses the importance of also retaining the Gulf of Mexico lease sales. Contrary to the rhetoric of the Administration and a vocal minority made up of anti-fossil fuel activists, the offshore oil and gas industry provides reliable, affordable and safe energy that improves our standard of living and has made the United States a global energy leader. Hopefully, this hearing is a step in the right direction in ensuring that the Administration keeps all of the proposed Gulf of Mexico and Arctic lease sales in the Final 2017-2022 OCS Leasing Program.”

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ABOUT NOIA
NOIA is the only national trade association representing all segments of the offshore industry with an interest in the exploration and production of both traditional and renewable energy resources on the nation’s outer continental shelf.  NOIA’s mission is to secure reliable access and a fair regulatory and economic environment for the companies that develop the nation’s valuable offshore energy resources in an environmentally responsible manner. The NOIA membership comprises about 300 companies engaged in business activities ranging from producing to drilling, engineering to marine and air transport, offshore construction to equipment manufacture and supply, telecommunications to finance and insurance, and renewable e