Seven US governors ask Obama to move ahead on OCS

Governors from seven US coastal states urged US President Barack Obama to accelerate the pace and level of Gulf of Mexico and Alaska offshore exploration and production permitting; expand access to new offshore areas for traditional and renewable energy development; implement federal revenue-sharing for all states that host development off their shores; and expand assessments of offshore resources, particularly in areas currently not available for leasing.

Their request came in a Mar. 13 letter signed by the following governors as members of the Outer Continental Shelf Governors Coalition: Bobby Jindal (La.), Sean Parnell (Alas.), Nikki R. Haley (SC), Robert Bentley (Ala.), Robert F. McDonnell (Va.), Rick Perry (Tex.), and Phil Bryant (Miss.). All are Republicans.

“Similar to your recent endorsement of an ‘all-of-the-above’ energy policy, our coalition embraces the understanding that the United States should develop all of our energy resources—both traditional and renewable sources—to provide our nation with a stable, secure supply of affordable American energy,” they told the president. “The soaring cost of fuel further underscores how imperative a comprehensive domestic energy policy is for American families and businesses, particularly at a time of economic recovery.”

The governors also asked Obama to reestablish the OCS Policy Committee within the US Department of the Interior. “The previous committee, whose charter expired in 2010, allowed participation from all coastal state governors, as well as several federal agencies, the business community, the environmental community, and other local constituencies,” they said. “This type of inclusive, consistent communication will help drive a sound OCS policy.”

David Holt, president of Houston-based Consumer Energy Alliance, endorsed their letter. “The leasing and permitting slowdown in the gulf and [off] Alaska and the exclusion of offshore Virginia from new leasing plans, compounded with inconsistent and overly burdensome regulation, is needlessly harming our nation’s productivity and economy,” he observed on Mar. 13. “It’s bad policy, it’s bad business, and it’s keeping our nation in the unstable position of depending on others for resources within our grasp.”

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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