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Coastal governors say 5-year OCS plan consultation fell short

The Obama administration did not properly consult with coastal states as it prepared its 2012-17 US Outer Continental Shelf management program, seven governors from coastal states charged. “In the plan, the administration fails to expand adequate access to resource-abundant areas in the Arctic and fails to establish leasing in the Mid- and South-Atlantic,” they said in an Aug. 8 letter to US President Barack Obama.

“Both of these decisions appear to have been made without proper consultation from the states, as required by the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, and without sufficient explanation for the reversal in decision from previous plans,” the seven Republican governors comprising the Outer Continental Shelf Governors Coalition maintained.

They emphasized that they did not want to further delay or otherwise delay implementation of the 5-year program, even with its reduced scope, because it’s the only mechanism by which the federal government can offer OCS oil and gas leases between now and June 30, 2017.

“But we continue to ardently desire constructive engagement with the administration to explore ways to expand OCS access in parallel with the 2012-17 program,” the governors said.

The seven OCS Governors Coalition members—Chairman Bobby Jindahl of Louisiana, and members Robert Bentley of Alabama, Sean Parnell of Alaska, Phil Bryant of Mississippi, Nikki R. Haley of South Carolina, Rick Perry of Texas, and Robert F. McDonnell of Virginia—also said they received no response to their Mar. 13 letter to the president seeking better communication on OCS matters.

American Petroleum Institute and National Ocean Industries Association officials separately commended the coalition on Aug. 9 for addressing a problem associated with the 5-year OCS program’s preparation.

“While other nations are actively increasing their ability to produce oil and natural gas off their shores, the proposed final OCS leasing plan keeps 85% of America’s federal waters off-limits at a time when exploring every possible energy source is critical to boosting our nation’s economy and creating jobs,” NOIA Pres. Randall B. Luthi said.

Meanwhile, Erik Milito, API’s upstream and industry operations group director, said, “As the governors’ letter highlights, the administration's 5-year plan continues a pattern of delay and restraint. Implementing an all-of-the-above energy strategy requires the development of our most affordable and reliable resources. The US should not settle for inert energy policies that threaten our energy security as the rest of the world moves forward with energy development.”

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