Fredericksburg, Va. – March 31, 2010   The Southeast Energy Alliance (SEA), a non-partisan energy coalition that includes farm bureaus, state manufacturing associations, chambers of commerce, rural electric cooperatives and individual businesses throughout the Southeast, praised the Obama administration today for its decision to move forward with a comprehensive outer-continental shelf (OCS) leasing program that includes lease sales in both the Mid-Atlantic and South Atlantic regions.

“SEA strongly supports the administration’s plan to move forward with leases in the Mid-Atlantic and South Atlantic Regions,” SEA executive director Michael Whatley said. “By opening up areas on the Atlantic seaboard to offshore exploration and development, and allowing for the possibility of offshore alternative energy production, the administration will provide the nation with the opportunity to develop a sustainable energy policy, an effort that will significantly benefit our economy by creating jobs and revenue.”

All leases will include stipulations to address environmental effects that may occur because of exploration and development of the area’s oil and gas resources. These stipulations call for protection of biological resources, including protected marine mammals and birds and methods to minimize interference with subsistence activities.

“At a time when oil is above $80 a barrel and our national economy is hanging by a thread, it is imperative that we have a balanced and robust approach to meeting our energy needs – and our national energy policy should reflect that,” said Whatley.

Whatley added that public support for offshore exploration and production has been strong throughout the Southeast. “We collected and submitted approximately 40,000 letters supporting the inclusion of the Mid-Atlantic and South Atlantic Regions from citizens in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia – and we have seen public polling data indicating that the public overwhelmingly supports moving forward with exploration and production to create jobs, boost the economy and provide much-needed revenues to state and local governments. There is no question that the Southeast will benefit from the Atlantic lease sales included in today’s announcement.”

The 40,000 letters were collected as part of a nationwide campaign led by Consumer Energy Alliance – which collected and submitted more than 200,000 letters to the Department of the Interior calling for expanded OCS access.

SEA’s mission is to develop and implement sound energy policies that will benefit the families, farmers, factories and businesses of the Southeast. SEA is the southeast regional affiliate of Consumer Energy Alliance.