FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:    September 8, 2008
CONTACT:                                 Brian Kennedy (202) 434-8200

22 Days Until Congressional Offshore Energy Ban Expires

Washington, DC – Today the Institute for Energy Research (IER) launched an online initiative to solicit public comments on the U.S. Department of the Interior’s plan to expand energy production on the outer continental shelf (OCS) into areas currently under Congressional moratoria.  IER president Thomas Pyle issued the following statement:

“Just 22 days remain until the Congressional ban on offshore energy production expires, but the Congress appears to be readying legislation that would continue most of it – permanently. American taxpayers own the federal land and the energy resources that lie beneath them. Continuing offshore energy energy exploration and production bans will only deliver a new era of energy embargoes imposed on American consumers by their own elected representatives in Washington. That’s why it’s imperative that Americans make their voices be heard by the federal government today.

“With nations around the world increasing their supplies to help meet demand and strengthen their economies, it is time for the U.S. government to stop its unilateral refusal to produce more energy for American citizens here at home.  Opening America’s 1.76 billion acre OCS will send an unprecedented message to the global market place that America is serious about producing more of its own energy.  Americans need to tell their federal government they want that message sent.”

IER’s online comment initiative can be viewed by clicking here.

Background: In light of President Bush’s July announcement to eliminate the executive ban on offshore drilling, the U.S. Minerals Management Service initiated a new plan to accelerate and expand energy production on the outer continental shelf (OCS).  As part of the regulatory process, the agency is calling for public comments on offshore oil and gas development through September 15, 2008.  At present, less than 3% of the OCS is leased for energy exploration and production.  A full 85% of the OCS surrounding the lower 48 states is off limits because of the Congressional ban, which, at present, expires and must be renewed annually.

The public comment process allows Americans to tell their government what they think should be done about leasing on the OCS and whether new energy supplies should be allowed to be produced in America.

The Institute for Energy Research (IER) is a not-for-profit public foundation that conducts intensive research and analysis on the functions, operations, and government regulation of global energy markets.  Founded in 1989, IER is funded entirely by tax deductible contributions from individuals, foundations and corporations. No financial support is sought or accepted from government (taxpayers).


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