Congressman requests hearings on costs of continued OCS delays

US Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) urged House Natural Resources Committee leaders to schedule hearings on the economic costs of continued delays in offshore oil and gas development a week after the first major report on the subject was released.

Nick Snow
OGJ Washington Editor

WASHINGTON, DC, Feb. 25 -- US Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) urged House Natural Resources Committee leaders to schedule hearings on the economic costs of continued delays in offshore oil and gas development a week after the first major report on the subject was released.

Referring to a study by Science Applications International Corp. that was commissioned by the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, Cassidy, who serves on the committee, noted that not allowing more energy activity on the US Outer Continental Shelf would cost 13 million jobs, reduce gross domestic product by $2.36 trillion, and increase US energy costs $2.35 trillion by 2030.

Cassidy said the report also indicated that such delays could raise natural gas prices by an average 17%/year, electricity prices 5%/year, and gasoline prices 3%/year. Domestic production of crude oil, meanwhile, could drop by 9.9 billion bbl, or an average 15%/year; and of gas by 46 tcf, or 9%/year, while US imports from Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries members could increase 4.1 billion bbl at a cost of $607 billion, according to the report, he said in a Feb. 23 letter to the committee’s chairman, Nick J. Rahall (D-W.Va.), and its ranking minority member, Doc Hastings (R-Wash.).

“Despite these projections and similar previous warnings, the [Obama] administration has continued to impose a moratorium on new energy development on federal lands,” said Cassidy. “The Department of Interior has repeatedly delayed new energy leasing activities, halted the 2010-15 offshore leasing plan, and withdrawn areas that had been planned for new oil and gas production. The administration’s 2010 and 2011 budgets have each contained tens of billions of dollars in tax increases on domestic energy production.”

He asked that the committee schedule hearings before Mar. 26 to address “the administration’s actions and inactions, particularly in light of the [NARUC-commissioned] report’s projections of the consequences that the ongoing energy moratorium will have for the American economy.”

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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