September 30, 2008
Brian Kennedy (202) 346-8826

Ban on Offshore Energy Production Expires

Tonight at Midnight

Washington, DC – After being off the books for nearly three decades, the Congressional ban on outer continental shelf (OCS) energy production expires this evening at midnight.  Thomas Pyle, president of the Institute for Energy Research (IER) issued the following statement:

“Given the integral role affordable energy plays in the health and vitality of our economy, the ban on offshore energy has been tantamount to withholding food from the starving.  It defies logic, common sense, and the state of our technological capabilities all at once.  Its complete repeal could lead to one of the biggest economic stimulus this nation has ever experienced, and it could not have come at a better time.”

“Unfortunately, many of the environmental laws and regulations concerning offshore energy production are older than the ban itself, and simply do not reflect the technological breakthroughs that have enabled us to produce energy and protect the environment at the same time.  These outdated laws – and those who file frivolous lawsuits based on them – threaten to stop forward progress on greater offshore energy production.  That’s why it is critical for the American people to continue their call for increased production of the energy resources they own beneath federal lands.  Repealing this ban is just the start.”

Energy production on federal lands will help increase domestic supplies to lower prices for consumers, create good jobs, and help stimulate the economy.  And because energy producers pay royalties, rents, and other fees for the right to produce taxpayer-owned energy resources, it also generates billions of dollars in revenue for the U.S. Treasury.

IER recently conducted extensive, bipartisan polling on the subject of offshore energy production.  More than 60 percent of Americans support complete repeal of the ban, and more than 70 percent believe that production will occur safely given advancements in technology.

More Facts on Outer-Continental Shelf (OCS) Energy:

  • The U.S. Minerals Management Service (MMS) estimates that the outer continental shelf contains nearly 86 billion barrels of oil and 420 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. (The U.S. consumes roughly 7.5 billion barrels of oil and 23 trillion cubic feet of natural gas annually).  This estimate is conservative, at best, because it has been illegal to explore; we simply have not looked.
  • The U.S. Department of Energy issued an extensive report – the Environmental Benefits of Advanced Oil and Gas Explorations and Production Technology – outlining the innovations that make oil and gas production safe, even in sensitive environments.

The Institute for Energy Research (IER) is a not-for-profit organization that conducts intensive research and analysis on the functions, operations, and government regulation of global energy markets. IER maintains that freely-functioning energy markets provide the most efficient and effective solutions to today’s global energy and environmental challenges and, as such, are critical to the well-being of individuals and society.

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