Keep Alaska, Gulf of Mexico sales in next 5-year OCS plan, groups say

Oil and gas lease sales in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas, the central and western Gulf of Mexico, and parts of the eastern gulf should remain in the 2017-22 US Outer Continental Shelf management plan, three national groups representing businesses, manufacturers, and energy consumers jointly said in a Nov. 3 letter to US President Barack Obama and Interior Sec. Sally Jewell.

Spearheaded by the Consumer Energy Alliance in partnership with the National Association of Manufacturers and US Chamber of Commerce, the letter effort secured 107 signatories representing a wide range of businesses and industries including agriculture, manufacturing, transportation, and construction. A decision on the 5-year plan is expected during November, they indicated.

“The broad geographic and economic spectrum reflected in today’s letter underscores the critical importance of America’s offshore energy resources to a multitude of communities and businesses throughout the economy,” CEA Pres. David Holt said. “It is time we take accountability through responsible energy development that protects not only the environment but hard-working people in our communities.”

Domestic offshore oil and gas development helps diverse interests across the US economy meet their energy needs more affordably and reliably while generating tens of billions of dollars in economic activity and government revenue and safeguarding national security by reducing dependence on foreign oil sources, the letter noted.

“Manufacturers need adequate, secure, reliable, and affordable energy and raw materials to compete in the global marketplace. A strong plan to develop energy offshore is vital to [their] success,” said Ross Eisenberg, NAM’s vice-president of energy and resources policy. “The [Obama] administration faces a critical decision as it finalizes its offshore leasing plan: Will manufacturers continue to enjoy an energy advantage, or will these resources be closed off to them?”

Karen A. Harbert, president of the US Chamber’s Institute for 21st Century Energy, said, “Policymakers and regulators must not give in to the keep-it-in-the-ground approach that would result in higher prices for consumers and economic harm for our nation.

“While it was very shortsighted to prohibit any exploration off of our mid-Atlantic coast over industry and state objections, it is imperative that we maintain robust offshore energy production in the Gulf and the Arctic to allow America’s manufacturing renaissance to continue and improve our security and competitiveness,” she said.

Contact Nick Snow at

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