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Committee Hearing Highlights States’ Frustration with Obama Administration’s Restrictive Offshore Leasing Plan

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 15, 2015 - Today, the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources held an oversight hearing on the Obama Administration’s Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2017-2022, released on January 27. Witnesses included Governor Pat McCrory, who testified on how federal regulatory policies governing offshore energy development are negatively impacting economic growth in North Carolina, and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Director Abigail Hopper.
Governor McCrory

“States such as North Carolina…can’t afford to potentially squander millions of dollars in preparation for a frontier industry that has the potential to be shut down at any time by the federal government. If we are serious about pursuing safe, responsible offshore energy development in the Atlantic, then the Obama Administration must provide states the certainty we require to start building the regulatory and structural foundation on which the industry can grow...By unleashing the energy potential off our Atlantic coasts, we will move America one step closer to energy independence and create new opportunities for all of North Carolina,” North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory testified. 

Committee Chairman Rob Bishop (UT-01), Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee Chairman Doug Lamborn (CO-5), and Committee Members Rep. Garret Graves (LA-06) and Rep. Rob Wittman (VA-01) issued the following statements following the hearing: 

“Future offshore oil and gas production is dependent upon a robust offshore lease offering. The Obama Administration’s five-year leasing plan reveals once again that its goal is not to increase energy security, despite its claims to the American people. Assuming all the leases even make it to the finalized plan, which is doubtful given this Administration’s track record, this proposal has the lowest number of lease sales since the program’s inception and contains extensive buffer zones which take valuable resources off the table for years. This plan derails the energy hopes of states and hijacks the nation’s hopes of global energy leadership,” stated Chairman Bishop

"The Obama Administration often touts that it is committed to promoting oil and gas production on federal lands, including the Outer Continental Shelf. However their draft five year lease plan contains the lowest number of lease sales in history and it can only get worse because there is no guarantee that even those few sales will remain in the final plan. Instead of continuing to lock away our energy resources, this Administration should commit to an aggressive offshore leasing strategy that clearly demonstrates a strong commitment to OCS oil and gas production that will provide for our nation's long-term energy security," stated Subcommittee Chairman Lamborn.

“Virginia has been asking for offshore leasing and exploration for the last decade, and this lease sale presents a tremendous opportunity,” Rep. Rob Wittman said. “There is broad bipartisan support for opening the Atlantic OCS for oil and gas development, as the Commonwealth stands to gain 25,000 jobs and billions of dollars in economic activity. Offshore energy production in the Atlantic Ocean will allow the U.S. to harness our domestic energy potential, decrease dependency on foreign oil, create thousands of new jobs, and generate millions in government revenue.”

“America has two choices – we can continue to import hundreds of billions of dollars of energy from Venezuela, Africa and the Middle East or we can hire American workers to produce offshore energy right here at home.  The Administration’s proposed 5-year OCS lease plan suggests the president is content with relying upon foreign countries who do not share American values to the detriment of American workers and jobs,” said Rep. Garret Graves.

More details on the hearing can be found here

Contact: Committee Press Office 202-226-9019

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