Four coastal state governors express support for more OCS leasing

Four members of the Outer Continental Shelf Governors Coalition called on the US Department of the Interior to include all leasing options in the 2019-24 Outer Continental Shelf program that is being developed, “understanding that circumstances affecting leasing decisions could change during the course of the program’s development and implementation.”

Four members of the Outer Continental Shelf Governors Coalition called on the US Department of the Interior to include all leasing options in the 2019-24 Outer Continental Shelf program that is being developed, “understanding that circumstances affecting leasing decisions could change during the course of the program’s development and implementation.”

Access to offshore energy resources will allow coastal states and communities to realize significant opportunities, Gov. Paul R. LePage (R-Me.), the coalition’s chairman, and Govs. Phil Bryant (R-Miss.), Kay Ivey (R-Ala.), and Bill Walker (I-Alas.) said in their Aug. 17 letter to US Interior Sec. Ryan Zinke.

“The successful development of the Gulf of Mexico and the initial exploration of Alaska’s OCS demonstrate how responsible offshore energy development can generate many good-paying jobs, spur activity in a host of associated industries, and generate billions of dollars in tax revenue,” the governors said.

Their comments on the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s request for information (RFI) came as a fifth coalition member, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D), said he would oppose expanded OCS oil and gas leasing in the next OCS program (OGJ Online, Aug. 18, 2017). He said this was because the Trump administration has said it would end new federal revenue sharing with four Gulf of Mexico coastal states under the 2016 Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act, and not adequately fund safety and environmental protection programs.

The governors asked Zinke to consider all US OCS areas in the next program, including the eastern gulf, the Atlantic OCS, and unleased portions offshore Alaska.

The governors applauded the Trump administration’s decision to begin geologic and geophysical seismic testing on the Mid-Atlantic OCS after it was delayed, then shelved, late in the Obama administration (OGJ Online, May 11, 2017). The National Marine Fisheries Service proposed issuing five incidental take authorizations to offshore geophysical contractors on June 5 so they can conduct seismic surveys along the US South and Mid-Atlantic OCS.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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