U.S. Sen. David Vitter made the following statement following the U.S. Department of Interior's Gulf of Mexico lease sale. This is only the second lease sale since 2010. The lease sale plan that was withdrawn by the Obama administration would have provided at least 10 lease sales over the same period.
"I certainly hope our efforts to knock some sense into the administration about the critical nature of energy production in the Gulf of Mexico are starting to pay off," Vitter said. "But until we see a positive trend with lease sales and issuing drilling permits, no one should be remotely convinced that Washington's off-course energy policy is on the right track. The administration has restricted far more resources than they've made available, so while holding a lease sale is a good common-sense act, opening up more of the outer continental shelf and get permitting back to normal rates also needs to be their focus."
Vitter recently highlighted the total drop-off in federal revenue coming in due to the administration's policy on conducting offshore drilling lease sales -- from $10 billion in FY2008 to $0 to that point in 2011.
Vitter has also been urging the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to go back to the previous five-year leasing plan that would open up nearly all of the outer continental shelf for lease sales.
Under the Obama administration, offshore lease sales have gradually declined each year, depriving the U.S. Treasury of a major source of revenue. During 2008, $9.4 billion was generated in new offshore lease bids. That dropped to $1.1 billion during the recessionary year of 2009, $979 million in 2010, then to $36 million in 2011.