The American Petroleum Institute (API) on Thursday called upon the Obama administration to make good on its promise to pursue an 'all-of-the-above' energy strategy, citing a letter sent this week by the Outer Continental Shelf Governors' Coalition seeking further discussions on opening more Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) acreage for oil and gas exploration.
The coalition members expressed concerns that the Obama administration did not properly consult with coastal states on the proposed Final Outer Continental Shelf oil and gas leasing program for 2012-2017 prior to its release by the U.S. Department of the Interior on June 28.
"In the plan, the administration fails to expand adequate access to resource-abundant areas in the Arctic and fails to establish leasing in the Mid and South Atlantic," said the coalition members, which include the governors of Texas, Alaska, Louisiana, South Carolina, Virginia, Mississippi and Alabama, in the Aug. 8 letter.
The governors noted that the decisions to not open additional areas in the Arctic and areas in the Mid- and South-Atlantic for drilling "appear to have been made without proper consultation from the states, as required by the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, and without sufficient explanation for the reversal in decision from previous plans," the coalition members said.
The coalition members said Interior did not consult Alaska for input on Arctic OCS leasing, with the final plan removing millions of Arctic acres from leasing to form study areas, making it likely these Arctic lease sales may never happen.
Interior has ignored the bipartisan leadership in Virginia that expressed support for Atlantic leasing, the governors said, noting that the administration's concerns about safety and spill containment infrastructure and coordination with military operations in the area.
The governors said they were not seeking to delay or impair implementation of the current proposed final leasing program.
"But we continue to ardently desire constructive engagement with the administration to explore ways to expand OCS access in parallel with the 2012-2017 program," the governors in the letter.
The recent letter from the coalition members was a follow-up to the March 13 letter to President Obama expressing the same concerns.
"Unfortunately, to date no member of the coalition has received a response from your administration on the March 13th letter, and we are becoming increasingly concerned about the lack of communication from the federal government on critical matters that affect our coastal development," the coalition members said in the Aug. 8 letter.
The United States could potentially produce more energy, boost government revenues and create hundreds of thousands of additional jobs, said Erik Milito, API group director of upstream and industry operations, in a statement on Thursday.
"As the Governors' letter highlights, the administration's five-year plan continues a pattern of delay and restraint," Milito commented.
"Implementing an all-of-the-above energy strategy requires the development of our most affordable and reliable resources. The U.S. should not settle for inert energy policies that threaten our energy security as the rest of the world moves forward with energy development," Milito said.
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