[bq]”It’s truly a turning point for American energy production in the Gulf.”[/bq]
American energy production and the immense value it brings consumers is under assault again.
Following the recent decision to take Atlantic offshore development off the table – despite support from all four governors, numerous state legislators and other elected officials, the vast majority of voters and poll after poll, as well as continued obstacles to energy development in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico and the Alaskan Arctic, the federal government is now proposing to make energy development in the Gulf of Mexico “more difficult or costly” by expanding the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary.
This is an area that contains millions of barrels of oil and natural gas reserves. What’s more, this significantly exceeds the recommendation of the Sanctuary Advisory Council, the experts who studied this issue and developed their recommendation informed by extensive public engagement.
What would this mean? Higher energy costs for families, households and small businesses, and a return to US reliance on more imports for abroad.
We need your help to tell the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) not to adopt its proposed expansion. If NOAA proceeds with its proposal, our ability to meet the country’s needs through access to Gulf of Mexico energy resources will be made more difficult.
Tell NOAA to make the right decision: Drop its proposed expansion or any alternative that would go even further. Instead, adopt the No Action alternative, and if it insists on moving ahead, adopt Alternative 2 (Sanctuary Advisory Council recommendation).
Dear Mr. Schmahl:
I write to urge the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) not to adopt its proposed expansion of the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary or any other alternative that would go even further. Instead, NOAA should adopt the No Action alternative, and if it insists on moving ahead, adopt Alternative 2 (Sanctuary Advisory Council recommendation) and apply regulations that do not impose any restrictions that would preclude new leasing or development in the expanded area.
The proposed expansion area intersects over 100 lease blocks associated with millions of barrels of oil and natural gas reserves, and NOAA’s draft Environmental Impact Statement acknowledges that leasing and oil and natural gas production could be made “more difficult or costly” within expanded sanctuary boundaries.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration recently concluded that demand for oil and natural gas will continue to increase in the coming decades, with oil and natural gas comprising just as much if not more of the nation’s energy portfolio in 2040 than it did in 2015. Generating nearly 20% of the nation’s crude oil production, in addition to over 650,000 jobs and over $64 billion in Gross Domestic Product in FY 2014, the Gulf of Mexico is a critical part of that portfolio. As an energy consumer dependent on access to affordable, reliable energy, and in light of prohibitions on access to energy resources in the Atlantic and Eastern Gulf of Mexico — and significant regulatory uncertainty in the Alaskan Arctic – this is not the time to impose new burdens that would make it more difficult or costly to access and develop energy resources in areas currently open in the Gulf of Mexico.
In addition, as the federal government has acknowledged, new restrictions on access to our offshore energy resources will impose environmental and social costs by making the nation more reliant on energy from other sources. As President Obama said last year, “I would rather us – with all the safeguards and standards that we have – be producing our oil and gas, rather than importing it, which is bad for our people, but is also potentially purchased from places that have much lower environmental standards than we do.”
In closing, please don’t adopt the proposed expansion (or alternatives that would go even further), which could harm our energy, economic, and environmental security by making it more difficult or costly to develop Gulf of Mexico energy. Instead, adopt the No Action alternative, and if NOAA insists on moving ahead, adopt Alternative 2 (Sanctuary Advisory Council recommendation) and apply regulations that do not impose any restrictions that would preclude new leasing or development in the expanded area.