March 11, 2010
I am asking you to join me in sending the attached letter to Secretary Salazar demanding that he roll back the “Obama Moratorium” on OCS development. On March 5, Secretary Salazar said that the Department will not be issuing an OCS lease plan until 2012 rather in July of this year. This means that the Draft Proposed Plan, initiated in 2008 and proposed as a draft in January of 2009, will take nearly four years to develop and there will be no leasing of new areas in the OCS during President Obama’s entire term.
The only way exploration and development can take place on any of the newly available 500 million acres of the OCS, containing billions of barrels of oil and trillions of cubic feet on natural gas, is through enactment of a new leasing plan. The Administration’s decision to unilaterally delay the development of the 2010 OCS plan for an additional two years will cost the American people billions of dollars in the short term, and depress job growth and energy security in the long term.
Last year, nearly 100 Republican members signed a letter commenting in favor of the 2010-2015 plan as proposed. The attached letter describes the case for completing the plan, creating jobs and enhancing our national energy security. The text of the letter is attached and below. If you have any questions please contact the Committee on Natural Resources Staff, Tim Charters or Kathy Benedetto, at x6-2311. Deadline for signatures is Wednesday, March 17.
House Committee on Natural Resources
March 18, 2010
The Honorable Ken Salazar
Department of the Interior
1849 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20240
Dear Mr. Secretary:
We strongly object to your recent announcement that the Obama Administration intends to discard the 2010-2015 Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) lease plan and delay implementation of a new leasing plan until 2012. This means that not one lease sale of areas previously under moratoria will occur during President Obama’s entire term in office. This is unacceptable to the overwhelming majority of the American people who support expanded offshore drilling, measured at 68% in one recent poll, and a step backwards from the President’s statements that he wants to improve our nation’s energy security.
While the Administration may not feel the sense of urgency to enact a new five-year plan, the American people do. In 2008, in response to rising prices, the American people called on Congress to act by opening the OCS for exploration and development. The American people should not have to wait the entire four years of the President’s term before any action is taken to explore and develop our precious national oil and gas resources from these new areas. By waiting until 2012, the Administration will unilaterally reinstate the ban on offshore drilling – and do it against the will of the American people.
There is no question that establishment of this new “Obama Moratorium” will have dire impacts on our economic future. These years of delay will directly result in uncreated jobs for unemployed Americans, billions of dollars in lost revenues to the U.S. Treasury, and a greater dependence on unstable foreign sources of oil and natural gas that puts our national security at risk. This action cancels nearly a dozen lease sales in the OCS that were scheduled to begin in July, 2010. The Department’s stalling and blockade of new energy production from the OCS endangers tens of thousands of existing jobs, and also prevents the creation of new jobs that would help lower our nation’s nearly ten percent unemployment rate. Opening new areas to drilling and job creation would be a no-cost stimulus for the U.S. economy.
Congress’ intent of opening the OCS was to offer as much of the newly available 500 million acres, which contain at least 14 billion barrels of oil and 55 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, for new American energy production. It should be the policy of the Administration to execute the will of Congress and the American people. Instead, the Administration is poised to use their new plan timeline as a backdoor opportunity to reinstate a moratorium that closes off wide expanses of the OCS. It is not too late to reverse this course of action, abandon this “Obama Moratorium,” and implement the 2010-2015 plan beginning in July to help create jobs and new American-made energy production.