“Mr. Bush, Tear Up That Offshore Drilling Ban”
IER Calls on Bush to Tear Up Moratorium on Offshore Drilling
Washington, DC – The Institute for Energy Research (IER) today called on President Bush to exercise his authority to repeal the Executive Order banning energy production on America’s outer continental shelf (OCS). IER president Thomas J. Pyle issued the following statement:
“Our elected representatives are paid to serve the people, but not a single person or family in the United States is served by maintaining this outdated ban on American energy production. Since the Congress has made it clear – year after year – that it does not have the courage to take decisive action, President Bush should take the first step. He has the authority to tear up one of the two bans on offshore energy production that form a wall between American consumers and affordable energy. We’re asking the president to tear down that wall.”
Two federal bans keep the U.S. from producing its vast offshore energy resources. The Executive Moratorium was instituted in 1990 and is set to expire in 2012, but can be eliminated by the president at any time. The Congressional Moratorium comes in the form of an annual appropriations rider in Congress. It expires every year and must be renewed annually by a vote in the Congress. Neither have the force of permanent law.
In 2006, the Washington Post labeled the Congress’ annual appropriations rider “An Outdated Ban ” on domestic energy production. Yesterday, however, the House of Representatives’ Interior Appropriations Subcommittee voted to continue the Congressional ban. The U.S. remains the only developed nation in the world to restrict access to its own energy resources in such a fashion. Currently, 97 percent of America’s 2 billion acres of OCS lands are not being used for their energy potential.
June 12, 2008
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Dear Mr. President:
Before you left the United States earlier this week for your European tour, you stated that high energy prices were due, in part, to a lack of domestic energy supplies. We agree, and urge you to demonstrate your commitment to increasing domestic supplies by immediately repealing the Presidential Executive Order that established a moratorium on U.S. outer continental shelf (OCS) energy production.
Two federal bans keep the U.S. from producing its vast offshore energy resources. The Executive Moratorium was instituted in 1990 and is set to expire in 2012, but can be eliminated by the President at any time. The Congressional Moratorium comes in the form of an annual appropriations rider in Congress. It expires every year and must be renewed annually by a vote in the Congress. Neither have the force of permanent law.
Unfortunately, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior Appropriations yesterday rejected a proposal to modify the long-standing Congressional ban on offshore energy development so that production may occur in federal waters of the outer continental shelf (OCS) beyond fifty miles of our shores. We believe this was a failure of leadership. We ask that you show your leadership by tearing up the presidential moratorium. Doing so would remove a significant barrier to lowering energy prices for Americans, and send a signal to the world that the United States is no longer putting its energy fate solely in the hands of foreign nations.
Because of these outdated bans, more than 97 percent of our nation’s vast OCS remains fallow, with less than 3 percent being leased for energy production. We believe it self-destructive and immoral for us, as a nation, to continue to allow our consumers to suffer the economic consequences of government policies that deliberately restrict access to energy supplies. The consequences of the OCS moratoria have been devastating to American energy security. We are the only advanced country in the world that ties its own hands behind its back with such a policy. Brazil, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Australia and Norway are all examples of advanced nations and allies that do not restrict their own energy production. Americans are suffering unnecessarily.
According to the U.S. Minerals Management Service, America’s OCS contains at least 86 billion barrels of oil and 420 trillion cubic feet of natural gas – enough to dramatically increase domestic supplies, create jobs, and spur new investments in our economy. As such, lifting the moratoria would provide you with a unique opportunity to finally turn aside the failed “No New Supplies.”
policies of the past, and reacquaint Americans with the optimism they feel when they realize that the only limits to their growth are those imposed upon them by their government.
Thomas J. Pyle
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 for or accepted from government (taxpayers).