Senator David Vitter (LA) has introduced legislation to dramatically expand offshore drilling in the U.S. The Energy Production and Project Delivery Act would double the amount of offshore oil and gas leases allowed under the Obama Administration’s current Five Year OCS Leasing Plan. This would effectively open up drilling along all U.S. coastlines and in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The measure would also streamline federal permitting, prevent the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from regulating CO2 under the Clean Air Act, and expand revenue sharing for coastal states from offshore energy activities. The bill currently has 22 co-sponsors and has been referred to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
The Surfrider Foundation today submitted comments to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) on the Draft 2012-2017 Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil and Gas Programmatic EIS. These comments were based on Surfrider’s Policy on Offshore Drilling, as well as the engagement/ perspective of our U.S. chapters in this issue. Click here to read the full comment letter to BOEM. Some highlights of Surfrider’s comment letter include:
- The Surfrider Foundation strongly supports the Department’s decision to exclude the Atlantic and Pacific coasts from the proposed 2012-2017 leasing plan
- Surfrider agrees with BOEM’s approach to focus the majority of lease sales in areas with current active leases (e.g., Western and Central Gulf of Mexico); however, we oppose issuing lease sales in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico
- Surfrider has strong concerns about plans to potentially lease off Alaska, given the likely challenges with spill prevention and response in the harsh and remote ocean environment
- The Draft PEIS does not sufficiently describe and analyze the impacts of oil spills
- The PEIS needs to better consider the role that renewable energy and conservation can play