Scott links South Atlantic OCS access bill to jobs growth plan

US Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) introduced a bill that would reverse the Obama administration’s exclusion of four South Atlantic coastal states from active offshore oil and gas resource development planning. It is the third part of Scott’s broader legislative Opportunity Agenda to create jobs and increase educational opportunities, he said on Apr. 2.

“The Southern Energy Access Jobs Act will allow our nation’s energy sector to innovate and grow while meeting several important needs, including creating more opportunities for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education, increasing job opportunities for our nation’s veterans, and helping ease the burden of energy for families,” said Scott, who is an Energy and Natural Resources Committee member.

His bill would create a single South Atlantic offshore energy planning area comprised of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. It would give those states more control of federal offshore energy planning by prohibiting permanently visible drilling infrastructure within 20 miles of the shoreline, Scott said.

He said it also would create a public-private partnership of industry and higher education institutions, including Historically Black Colleges and Universities, to enhance and broaden the study of geological and geophysical sciences, encourage new STEM studies of offshore energy resources, and educate the next generation of America’s offshore energy scientists.

Scott’s bill also would establish a veteran’s workforce training program, using Atlantic offshore energy production revenue to fund employment training supporting US oil and gas production. It also would give each of the four states 37.5% of federal revenue from energy production directly off its coast, and dedicate another 10% to federal deficit reduction.

Less import reliance

“By unleashing the potential of America’s vast energy resources in the Atlantic, we can continue the long overdue process of reducing our national dependency on fuel produced in some of our world’s most dangerous areas,” Scott said.

“Additionally, by enacting the SEA Jobs Act, we can potentially create more than 280,000 jobs and add $24 billion to the economy,” he continued. “In South Carolina alone, this legislation could create more than 35,000 new jobs.”

National Ocean Industries Association Pres. Randall B. Luthi applauded the bill’s intent. “Currently, 85% of our offshore area is closed to oil and gas exploration,” he said on Apr. 3.

“We should continue down the path of weaning America off of oil and gas imports with new access to the outer continental shelf,” Luthi maintained. “Sen. Scott’s push to cut the through the administration’s red tape by opening the ‘South Atlantic’ to oil and gas production is a giant leap in the right direction.”

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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