*For all press release inquiries, please reach out to Theresa Meyer (Theresa.Meyer@mail.house.gov)

(Courtesy of the Congressional Western Caucus) 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressional Western Caucus Chairman Paul A. Gosar D.D.S. (AZ-04), Majority Whip Steve Scalise (LA-01), Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob Bishop (UT-01), Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway (TX-11), Chief Infrastructure and Forestry Officer Bruce Westerman (AR-04) and Western Caucus Members Randy Weber (TX-14), Ralph Abraham (LA-05), Doug LaMalfa (CA-01), Jeff Duncan (SC-03), Mike Johnson (LA-04), Garret Graves (LA-06), Louie Gohmert (TX-01), Doug Lamborn (CO-05), Andy Biggs (AZ-05) and Tom Emmer (MN-06) released the following statements after the United States Department of the Interior (DOI) and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) announced a Draft Proposed Program (DPP) for the 2019-2024 National Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil and Gas Leasing Program to increase available acreage and leases for responsible offshore oil and gas exploration and production:

Congressman Weber stated, “I applaud the president and this administration for focusing on American energy dominance. Our nation is filled with untapped potential. It is incumbent on us to responsibly increase our offshore oil and gas exploration and production. I firmly believe this is entirely within our reach.”

“The Trump administration’s announcement to allow expanded offshore oil and gas exploration and drilling is welcomed news. This decision will lead to more jobs for hard-working Louisianians anxious to return to work in the industry, provide greater economic stimulation in communities that rely on energy production for survival, and further our goal of American energy independence,” said Congressman Abraham.

Congressman LaMalfa said, “President Trump and Secretary Zinke are working together to expand American energy production and create American jobs. This draft plan promotes responsible offshore energy production and will include input from Congress and local stakeholders. This is an important step towards our ultimate goal of American energy self-sustainability and putting Americans back to work. I look forward to seeing this program improve our nation’s energy independence and create jobs for hardworking Americans.”

“The announcement coming out of the Trump Administration today is tremendous news for American energy independence, economic development, and job creation. The Obama Administration’s shortsighted offshore plan set the U.S. behind our competitors around the world and trampled efforts to move toward energy independence. It’s great to see President Trump correct this misguided policy and replace it with an aggressive, bold agenda to ensure the U.S. is the leading nation for energy security which is critical in our increasingly volatile world. Opening up U.S. waters for drilling, including off the coast of South Carolina, will expand access to critical resources which will greatly benefit South Carolinians and our nation as a whole. As a longtime advocate for offshore energy and a former member of the U.S. Department of Interior’s Outer Continental Shelf’s Five Year Planning Subcommittee, I know this decision will move the U.S. to the forefront of global energy security and closer to achieving the goal of energy independence,” said Congressman Jeff Duncan.

Congressman Mike Johnson stated, “The Trump administration’s decision to allow enhanced exploration, leasing and development within the Outer Continental Shelf, previously closed to such activities, prioritizes home-grown energy production and puts the United States one step closer to achieving energy dominance. I look forward to the many benefits Louisiana and other coastal states will see from this all-of-the-above energy strategy.”

“After the ban was lifted on oil exports last year, we’ve seen worldwide demand for American energy explode. Secretary Zinke and President Trump’s decision to seize on America’s energy potential is a smart step towards furthering our nation’s position as a global energy leader,” said Congressman Conaway.

Congressman Garret Graves stated, “Let’s be clear – preventing energy production in the United States makes us reliant upon foreign energy sources, sends hundreds of billions of American dollars overseas and exports jobs to other countries.  This energy plan is different.  It begins to maximize domestic energy resources, creates jobs at home and decreases our reliance upon foreign energy.  The United States has one of the safest, most environmentally-sensitive conventional energy production programs in the world.  Eliminating barriers to domestic energy production as envisioned in this plan is a step in the right direction.”

“It is truly exciting and encouraging that we have a president that is doing all he can to make us completely energy independent. Being energy independent will ensure that we can never be blackmailed by totalitarian nations who provide us any energy. Under this current administration, we are headed on a road that will establish this country as one of the strongest energy superpowers. This move is an important step forward to pursuing our nation’s energy potential. It is refreshing to know that we have a leader in the White House who values the assets this nation has to offer and is willing to take bold, yet common sense steps to both protect and benefit the American people,” said Congressman Gohmert.

Congressman Scalise stated, “Today’s announcement by Secretary Zinke represents yet another positive step the Trump Administration has taken in the direction of American energy dominance. With this program, my constituents in southeast Louisiana whose jobs depend on the energy industry can rest easy knowing that oil and gas development is a priority for this administration. With increased exploration and production in the Gulf of Mexico and beyond, we will be able to create more jobs and continue to receive the revenue sharing that is vital to rebuilding our coast. I look forward to working with Secretary Zinke and President Trump to ensure that our offshore oil and gas industry continues to be strong.”

“The previous administration’s approach to offshore development started from the premise of considering ‘as little as possible.’ The Trump administration starts from the premise of considering ‘as much as possible.’ American energy dominance will only be achieved by taking the latter approach. I look forward to continuing to work with the Administration to responsibly develop American energy, spur job growth and maximize revenues to the benefit of taxpayers,” said Congressman Rob Bishop.

“North American energy independence should be a top priority for the United States. Today’s announcement by Secretary Zinke is a positive step in that direction. As he noted, not all offshore areas are appropriate for drilling, but proper study and public comment will help the Interior Department as it explores areas for safe, regulated exploration and development. While energy independence should be our next step, energy dominance should be our final goal. This allows not only our citizens and businesses to thrive, but frees our allies from purchasing oil and gas from our enemies,” stated Congressman Westerman.

Congressman Lamborn said, “Offshore drilling uses our nation's abundant natural resources to our economy's advantage. The economic boost will create more jobs and help entire communities thrive with a strong connection to drilling. Instead of heavily relying on foreign countries to supply the United States with fuel, we can restore American independence by using our own. This will drastically cut costs for the average American. These measures are good for our nation's workers, consumers, and economy.”

“Once again President Trump and his administration are keeping the promises he made in his campaign.  I applaud the proposed plan for oil and gas exploration in the Outer Continental Shelf.  This program is yet another step in the right direction to revive America’s energy independence.  Oil and gas exploration in these regions will benefit job growth, our economy, and national security,” stated Congressman Biggs.

Congressman Emmer said, “Once again, this administration put America first by further severing our reliance on foreign countries for essential resources. Today’s action by the President echoes the Department of Interior’s decision to support mining rights in Minnesota and enhance access to our nation’s resources while creating jobs, boosting local economies, and advancing national security.”

Chairman Gosar concluded, “The Trump Administration’s aggressive plan to unlock offshore oil and gas resources will move America closer to energy independence and dominance. Unlike the previous Administration, which aimed to stifle and undermine responsible oil and gas production at every opportunity, President Trump and Secretary Zinke understand that developing these resources is an important part of a true all-of-the-above energy strategy.” 


Courtesy of the Department of Interior

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke today announced the next step for responsibly developing the National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program (National OCS Program) for 2019-2024, which proposes to make over 90 percent of the total OCS acreage and more than 98 percent of undiscovered, technically recoverable oil and gas resources in federal offshore areas available to consider for future exploration and development. By comparison, the current program puts 94 percent of the OCS off limits.

Earlier this year, 155 Members of both the U.S. House and U.S. Senate sent letters to Secretary Zinke in support of a new 5-year plan that recognizes America’s potential for energy dominance.

The Draft Proposed Program (DPP) includes 47 potential lease sales in 25 of the 26 planning areas – 19 sales off the coast of Alaska, 7 in the Pacific Region, 12 in the Gulf of Mexico, and 9 in the Atlantic Region. This is the largest number of lease sales ever proposed for the National OCS Program’s 5-year lease schedule.

BOEM currently manages about 2,900 active OCS leases, covering almost 15.3 million acres – the vast majority in the Gulf of Mexico. In fiscal year 2016, oil and gas leases on the OCS accounted for approximately 18 percent of domestic oil production and 4 percent of domestic natural gas production. This production generates billions of dollars in revenue for state and local governments and the U.S. taxpayer, while supporting hundreds of thousands of jobs.

For more information about the National OCS Program, including maps, please visit: http://www.boem.gov/National-Program/

Courtesy Western Caucus

The DPP announced today proposes an aggressive 5-year plan that significantly increase available acreage and the number off leases for responsible offshore oil and gas exploration and production in the Outer Continental Shelf.  This plan will move our national offshore energy policy away from an overly restrictive and misguided approach towards energy independence.

It is Important to note that this is just the draft plan, it can be modified and it will take a significant amount of time to complete as the agency will hold meetings in affected states with stakeholders, brief members of Congress, hold a public comment period and do significant outreach.

In April, President Trump issued Executive Order 13795, lifting the ban on offshore oil and gas exploration and production in the Arctic and Atlantic. Read more HERE.

Secretary Zinke subsequently issued Secretarial Order 3350 which called for enhancing OCS energy exploration, leasing, and development as well as establishing regulatory certainty for OCS activities.

Under the previous Obama plan, 94% of all acreage was off limits and only 15 potential lease sales were proposed. President Reagan proposed 41 and 42 lease sales during his Administration. The Trump Administration proposed 47 lease sales and opening up over 90 percent of the total OCS acreage in today’s DPP.

In November, the House Committee on Natural Resources passed Whip Scalise's bill, H.R. 4239, the Secure American Energy Act. This legislation seeks to increase access to oil and gas resources in the OCS. Read more HERE.