Dear Mr. Textoris:
I am writing to urge the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and the federal government to ensure the Proposed Five-Year Program for Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil and Gas Leasing for 2012-2017 moves forward. Although I am pleased that this plan allows for additional lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska, I remain discouraged by the series of permitting delays and regulatory uncertainty that has greatly limited offshore exploration.
In establishing a robust 2012–2017 OCS Oil and Gas Leasing Program, I believe the BOEM must ensure that current and future lessees have the capacity to explore and develop their leases in a timely manner and with certainty in permitting process. This will allow them to deliver much-needed energy to American consumers and strengthen our nation’s energy security. As the agency moves forward with future leases, I encourage you to proactively address concerns with permitting, regulations and lease terms in a manner that encourages additional investment in offshore development – an investment that will help create new American jobs and generate billions in economic activity.
Quite simply, our economy depends on the millions of jobs offshore production generates. In fact, the U.S. oil and gas industry supports more than nine million American jobs – both directly and indirectly – and generates nearly $1 trillion in economic activity every year. Millions more rely on oil and natural gas as a vital and necessary part of their core function – from aviation to trucking to chemical manufacturing to iron and steel production and agriculture. A stable, secure energy supply benefits All Americans.
As the national unemployment rate remains stubbornly high, we simply cannot afford to stymie efforts to bring oil and gas development back online. Delaying or limiting offshore drilling off the Gulf Coast states, as well as Alaska, puts at risk all of the workers in those states supported by the U.S. oil and natural gas industry – a total of more than 2.5 million jobs.
In order to spur economic growth by sustaining and creating a significant number of American jobs, we must adopt responsible policies and expand the development of our abundant oil and gas resources as part of a strong 2012-2017 Oil and Gas Leasing Program.