Debate intensifies over OCS Sale 181, other access issues

The debate over access to offshore US energy resources has intensified.Most attention now is on the so-called Sale 181 area in the eastern Gulf of Mexico, which was included in both the 5-year leasing plan for 2007-12 that the US Minerals Management Service is developing and a Senate bill that was the subject of an Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing on Feb. 16.Both would exclude oil and gas leasing, exploration, or development within 100 miles of the coast.Outer Continental Shelf Lease Sale 181 originally was held on Dec. 5, 2001, offering deepwater tracts off Louisiana and Alabama more than 100 miles from Florida’s coast. MMS awarded 95 leases drawing almost $340.5 mill...

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