Today Congressman Gene Green (D-TX) and Congressman Bill Flores (R-Texas), along with Robert Wittman (R-Va.) and Jim Costa (D-Calif.), sent a joint bipartisan letter with 182 Member signatures to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar expressing strong support in the House for the consideration of new and expanded access to the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) for the production of oil and natural gas in the Proposed Outer Continental Shelf Plan for 2012-2017.
Even with limited data, the Department of Interior estimates 86 billion barrels of oil and 420 trillion cubic feet of gas remain in undiscovered fields. Until September 2008, 90% of the offshore was off-limits to development or even assessment because of federal moratoria. At the time these moratoria were removed, it was anticipated that without these obstacles, broader access would reduce our dependency on potentially unstable foreign sources, laying the groundwork for new jobs, energy, and revenues. Yet, the Proposed Outer Continental Shelf Plan for 2012-2017, released by the Department of the Interior in November 2011, failed to open any new areas on the Outer Continental Shelf for the consideration of new energy production through 2017.
"Opening up these areas to study is critical in working toward establishing a stable and safe domestic energy supply. By not exploring the possibility of opening new areas to energy production through 2017, we are stifling the resources we have to grow our economy. This letter shows that there is strong bipartisan support for assessing these areas and I hope that the Administration will not continue to limit our offshore production potential," said Rep. Green.