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10 10, 2017 by Lori LeBlanc | BIC Magazine
Hope comes in all shapes and sizes. Throughout the Obama administration, the oil and gas industry and supporting communities beat the drum for expanded offshore production, knowing America has a real shot at energy independence if given the chance to make use of our own bountiful resources. Unfortunately, that administration's Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) oil and gas leasing plans fell short of our hopes, keeping 94 percent of America's OCS waters "off limits" to development.
President Trump gave us new hope this spring, however, in a surprise announcement authorizing the Department of the Interior to reopen and re-evaluate the 2019- 2024 Five-Year Lease Plan, starting with a comment period that ended Aug. 17. The re-evaluation process will likely continue over the next year and a half, but we are hopeful grassroots support for OCS expansion can produce real change in the government's offshore leasing program beginning in 2019.
Louisiana has a long and successful history in offshore oil and natural gas production, and our operators and local communities offer an "on the ground," real-world perspective on the positive impacts of a safe and responsible oil and gas industry on our economy and environment. Our state proves "we can have it all." Now is the time for the federal government to give communities and workers across the country a chance to experience this economic engine.
In a letter to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) in August, the Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association (LMOGA) strongly recommended the upcoming lease plan not only include existing areas of exploration and development like the central and western Gulf, but also new areas where there has been little or no activity like the mid- and south Atlantic, eastern Gulf and the Pacific. The benefits would be tremendous:
LMOGA joins many other business groups and local governments along Louisiana's energy coast in advocating for a Five-Year OCS Lease Plan that continues to allow exploration and production in current OCS leasing areas while also opening more federal waters in the mid- and southern Atlantic, the Pacific and the rest of the eastern Gulf of Mexico to oil and gas investment. We hope President Trump appreciates, as we do, the tremendous value this will bring to American energy security and our American economy. Now is the time for us to secure America's energy future.
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