Mixed Messages, Definite Delays, on OCS Energy

By February 10, 2009Energy, Global Warming

From the Department of Interior, “Secretary Salazar Details Strategy for Comprehensive Energy Plan on U.S. Outer Continental Shelf“:

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Saying he needed to restore order to a broken process, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today announced his strategy for developing an offshore energy plan that includes both conventional and renewable resources.
His strategy calls for extending the public comment period on a proposed 5-year plan for oil and gas development on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf by 180 days, assembling a detailed report from Interior agencies on conventional and renewable offshore energy resources, holding four regional conferences to review these findings, and expediting renewable energy rulemaking for the Outer Continental Shelf.

The full text of the Secretary’s remarks is here.

The anti-oil radicals at the Natural Resources Defense Council hail the delays as bold leadership. No drilling, ever, anywhere is the NRDC’s mantra. Excerpt:

We are encouraged by Salazar’s commitment to a new approach to offshore energy — harnessing the power of the wind, sun and oceans — which will provide America with a full range of energy resources.
New offshore drilling would risk oil spills from Florida to Maine, and all along the Pacific Coast. This would not only cause tremendous economic damage to fishing and tourism communities, but it would destroy habitat for wildlife, and hurt all of us who live, work and vacation in these places.

The American Petroleum Institute’s president, Jack Gerard, issued a statement:

Congress made the American people wait nearly 30 years to address our immediate energy challenges. Secretary Salazar today told the American people they must continue to wait – even though more than two-thirds of them want to tap our vast domestic resources for the benefit of all Americans.

The accelerated Outer Continental Shelf five-year plan process, which the secretary placed on hold today, was designed to address the critical energy concerns facing Americans. The draft plan already received a record 120,000 comments from states, environmental groups, industry, labor groups and members of the public – with 87,000 of those comments supporting expanded and expeditious development.

Secretary Salazar’s announcement means that development of our offshore resources could be stalled indefinitely. That would delay Americans’ access to nearly 160,000 new, well-paying jobs, $1.7 trillion in revenues to federal, state and local governments and greater energy security.

We share Secretary Salazar’s view that America needs a comprehensive energy policy that includes alternatives. In these tough economic times, Salazar’s delay does a disservice to all Americans. We should be moving as quickly as possible to develop more of our own oil and natural gas to benefit all Americans.


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