U.S. Senator Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., today released the following statement on Department of the Interior's 2012-2017 5-year offshore oil and gas leasing plan for the United States' outer continental shelf:
"Unfortunately, this plan seemingly ignores the vast oil and gas resources available off the shores of the U.S., as it does not even begin to allow us to tap into over 85 percent of the nation's offshore assets. By opening new areas, particularly in Virginia, the Administration could bolster the economy by creating jobs and sending more taxes to the U.S. Treasury -- it is disappointing this Administration is so shortsighted on the tremendous benefits this industry brings to the U.S.
"While I am disappointed the Administration did not include more areas in its 5-year plan, I am grateful that they did included two Eastern Gulf lease sales. The leases included in the Eastern Gulf are areas opened under the Domenici-Landrieu Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act (GOMESA). The bonuses and rental rates from the lease sales scheduled for 2014 and 2016 will be shared with the four Gulf producing states almost immediately, and once these leases are producing, the royalties received will also be shared with these Gulf states. I fought hard to bring revenue sharing to the Gulf Coast -- America's energy coast -- and I am proud that they will be used in Louisiana to restore our resilient coast."
In 2006, Sen. Landrieu successfully passed the Domenici-Landrieu Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act (GOMESA). For the first time, this law secured a 37.5 percent share of offshore oil and gas revenues for Louisiana. This independent revenue stream is expected to provide Louisiana billions of additional dollars in coming decades for flood protection and coastal restoration projects. Phase one of GOMESA brought more than $6 million into Louisiana for 2009 alone. Phase two will bring in ever increasing amounts beginning in 2017. It also provides significant funding to the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which funds the creation of parks and outdoor recreation areas across the country.
GOMESA will serve as a template for similar measures around the country -- and that will enhance U.S. energy security. Senator Landrieu believes that a system that shares the benefits of offshore drilling with the coastal states will foster more domestic energy production while helping to restore coastal areas around the country.
The Domenici-Landrieu Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act
* Opens more than 8.3 million acres of the Gulf of Mexico to energy production.
* Geologists estimate that this area contains at least:
o 1.26 Billion Barrels of Oil
o 5.8 Trillion Cubic Feet of Natural Gas
* That's enough natural gas to heat and cool nearly 6 million homes for 15 years.
* That's more oil than the proven reserves of Wyoming and Oklahoma combined.