Posted July 29, 2009
In a move that relieves some of the legal worries about offshore oil and natural gas development, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia has ruled that the 2007-2012 offshore leasing plan can move forward uninterrupted.
API hailed the decision saying, "The court made the right decision by allowing the continued production of oil and natural gas from Gulf of Mexico leases already issued in the Outer Continental Shelf and to future leases in the Gulf under the 2007-2012 Five-Year Program. Offshore oil and gas leasing under the program is responsible for thousands of well-paying jobs, over $10 billion in much-needed revenue for federal, state and local governments. The nation's energy security depends on these resources."
In a separate statement, Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) said, "If this court's decision had not been addressed expeditiously, the potential impacts would have been severe. The Gulf of Mexico accounts for more than 20 percent of U.S. oil and natural production."
However, one sticking point remains. The court decision has placed a recent lease sale off the coast of Alaska on hold until the Interior Department reassesses its environmental sensitivity rankings and the leasing schedule for Alaska.
We encourage the Department of Interior to move quickly to re-do the environmental sensitivity analysis and maintain all scheduled past and future leasing in Alaska so that exploration and production activity can take place.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mark Green joined API after a career in newspaper journalism, including 16 years as national editorial writer for The Oklahoman in the paper’s Washington bureau. Mark also was a reporter, copy editor and sports editor. He earned his journalism degree from the University of Oklahoma and master’s in journalism and public affairs from American University. He and his wife Pamela live in Occoquan, Va., where they enjoy their four grandchildren.