East Coast governors ask Jewell to back offshore development

Governors of three US East Coast states asked US Sec. of the Interior nominee Sally Jewell to support offshore energy resource development off their respective states’ coasts.

Virginia’s Robert F. McDonnell (R), North Carolina’s Pat McCrory (R), and South Carolina’s Nikki R. Haley (R) said in their Feb. 14 letter that that energy production from the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf could create more than 140,000 jobs within the next 20 years. “We we hope you will ensure that the [Obama] administration is a partner with the states on this issue,” they told her.

When the Republican Governors Public Policy Committee released “An Energy Blueprint for America,” it recommended responsible development of US offshore resources, state empowerment to make offshore exploration restrictions specific to local considerations, and revenue-sharing measures for all offshore energy projects, the governors continued.

“During your nomination hearings, we will be listening intently to your answers regarding energy exploration off the coasts of our states and hope you will signal your willingness to revise the administration’s current policy to one that is committed to safely harnessing our coast’s vast natural resources,” they said.

American Petroleum Institute Pres. Jack N. Gerard commended the trio for their action. “We have an opportunity to lead the world on energy, and through safe and responsible development of our own oil and natural gas resources we can continue our path as a global energy superpower,” he said on Feb. 14.

Government data about resources off the Atlantic coast are more than 30 years old and out of date, Gerard continued. “It would be irresponsible for our government leaders not to allow exploration and development utilizing the latest technologies to learn exactly how much energy we have,” he said.

US Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) and seven other Senate Democrats wrote US Interior Sec. Ken Salazar on Jan. 30 urging him to not allow seismic testing off the Atlantic coast.

“We know there is potential in the Atlantic OCS for substantial oil and gas resources that could provide needed jobs for Americans, generate additional royalty revenues for the federal treasury, and enhance our nation’s energy security,” a National Ocean Industries Association spokeswoman told OGJ on Feb. 15. “We just don’t know how vast those resources may be.

“Access helps open the door for modern-day surveys to provide a more accurate picture of the size of those resources, which will inform any decisions on whether or not to proceed with further exploration and possible development,” she observed.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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