Business groups urge Biden administration to support domestic energy production, offshore leasing program
(WO) — The American Petroleum Institute, Consumer Energy Alliance, Louisiana Mid Continent Oil and Gas Association, National Oceanic Industry Association and U.S. Chamber of Commerce today joined with more than 80 trade groups representing a diverse cross section of industries in calling on the Biden administration to act on policies that support U.S. energy security and increase domestic production of natural gas and oil.
In a letter to President Biden, the signatories urged the administration to implement a new five-year program for federal offshore leasing as soon as possible.
“For the U.S. to continue to be an energy leader into the future, smart and effective energy policies are needed today. However, your administration’s policies have often hindered domestic producers’ ability to deliver on this growing demand. Oil and natural gas leasing on Federal lands and waters has essentially stopped, despite court orders, and while DOI has taken steps to complete and implement the next 5-year Program, there will be an unprecedented gap between the current and next 5-year Program,” the letter states.
The letter follows testimony from Secretary Haaland last month, during which the Secretary confirmed that the Department of Interior (DOI) is far behind in the process of developing and implementing a five-year program and will not have a new plan in place by the time the current program expires on July 1.
Offshore production in the Gulf of Mexico currently represents over 15% of natural gas and oil production and is among the lowest carbon-intensive production in the world. Without a five-year program in place, no new offshore lease sales can be held, leaving future domestic production in jeopardy.
“We are at a critical time where a lack of federal action and regulatory uncertainty may discourage companies from making the multi-billion-dollar investments needed to develop offshore resources in the U.S. and ensure the long-term viability of a lower-carbon national strategic asset,” the letter states. “If the door closes to new U.S. production, investment dollars will instead flow abroad to more active basins to the detriment of American workers, energy consumers, and the environment.”
The letter outlines the following actions that the administration can take to avoid further economic impact and help ensure accessible, affordable, and reliable energy here in the United States:
- Execute the laws that mandate the DOI complete a long-term offshore leasing program with robust lease sales to avoid unnecessary production and development disruption. This requires the prompt completion of the steps necessary to finalize the OCS Leasing Program for 2022-2027. The expected delay will harm American investment, production, and jobs. The delays are already having an impact on investment and jobs throughout the supply chain.
- Provide certainty on oil and natural gas leasing by compelling the DOI to meet deadlines and honor its obligation to lease on federal lands and waters.