American Solutions: Send this Message to the US Department of the Interior

I am writing in support of the development of more domestic oil and natural gas resources off our coasts by allowing all of the 31 lease sales proposed by MMS to be kept in the OCS leasing program for 2010–2015.

During the summer of 2008 when gas prices went over $4 gallon, the American people spoke loud and clear in favor of developing the energy supplies that have been off limits to us for too long. Just because gas prices have gone back down does not mean we’ve changed our minds.

It’s important that we begin to develop alternative sources of energy, but oil and natural gas will continue to be an essential part of our energy future for decades to come. We are currently sending billions of dollars overseas to meet our energy demands, even though we have more energy resources than any country in the world.

MMS should make access to all OCS areas a high priority for our nation to improve our energy security, grow our economy and generate local, state and federal revenue.

In terms of our energy security, for over 20 years the federal government denied access to an estimated 18 billion barrels of oil and 77 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in the OCS. The resources expected to be found in these areas represent enough natural gas to heat 15 million households using natural gas for more than 77 years.  And, it can produce enough oil to power over 20 million cars and heat 956,000 households for 30 years. These resource estimates may be conservative since the areas in question are largely unexplored, but, if given access to them, the industry can utilize today’s sophisticated technology to further define and tap those domestic resources.

In terms of our economy, opening all available domestic resources to safe and environmentally responsible development will significantly boost U.S. supplies of oil and natural gas. One study in particular indicates that the development of these areas can add 160,000 thousand jobs in the oil and natural gas industry.

Lastly, in terms of revenue, the federal government collected over $23 billion from the energy industry in 2008 which was distributed to state, local, American Indian and federal accounts. Additionally, one recent study indicated development of the resources on federal offshore areas and onshore lands that had been off-limits for decades could generate $1.7 trillion in revenues for federal, state and local governments.

For the sake of our economy, our energy security, and our government’s balance sheets, the next OCS plan should keep all the 31 lease sales in the 12 areas proposed for exploration and production with no artificial restrictions.


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