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Press Release

163 Members of Congress Urge Administration to Increase Energy Production in Outer Continental Shelf

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, along with Sens. Tim Scott, R-S.C., Bill Cassidy, R-La., and Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, Chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources, today led 159 of their Senate and House colleagues in urging Interior Secretary Sally Jewell to increase access to the energy resources on our nation’s outer continental shelf (OCS). 

The bicameral letter comes in response to the administration’s draft 2017-2022 five-year OCS leasing program (DPP), which offered an historically low number of leases while imposing greater restrictions on offshore energy activity, and Secretary Jewell’s most recent comments that leases offered in the DPP may be reduced even further.

“As members of Congress committed to a strong, comprehensive domestic energy strategy, we wholeheartedly believe that the United States must not shrink away from developing our nation’s offshore energy resources. A robust five-year OCS program should be a key component of the administration’s all-of-the-above energy strategy that can continue to advance the job creation, economic growth and energy security gains that the U.S. has enjoyed thanks to the recent boom in energy production on state and private lands,” the members wrote in a letter sent to Jewell today. “We fear that the currently proposed DPP sets the stage for energy insecurity instead of domestic prosperity. While we were pleased to see the administration finally take a step in the right direction by including one potential lease sale in the Atlantic in the draft plan, this step was offset by the additional restrictions in the Atlantic and area withdrawals in the offshore of Alaska.”

The Obama administration has placed 85 percent of the nation’s OCS off-limits to oil and natural gas activity. Calling this “counterproductive to efforts to boost our nation’s economy,” the signers of Thursday’s letter called on the administration to work with them to advance a five-year leasing program that strengthens America’s energy position in the world.

“Our struggling economy is on the verge of a transformational manufacturing renaissance and is capable of producing the resources needed to make it a reality,” the members wrote. “We ask that you actually work with Congress on this important proposal.  We are at a critical time in developing America’s energy policy and decisions we make today will have an impact on future U.S. oil and natural gas production. Such decisions will also significantly impact our standing in a volatile global economy. It is important that the administration is forward-thinking in America’s energy development planning and we are eager to work with the administration to ensure we are headed down the path to prosperity and security through increased offshore American energy production.”

Read the full letter here.