July 14, 2008
Brian Kennedy (202) 434-8200

78 Days Until Congressional Offshore Energy Ban Expires


Washington, D.C. – The Institute for Energy Research (IER) launched a "Countdown Calendarhighlighting the days that remain until the Congressional moratorium on outer continental shelf (OCS) energy leasing expires.  Unless the Congress takes action to extend the ban, it will expire on September 30th, 2008 – the end of the federal government’s fiscal year.  IER president Thomas Pyle issued the following statement:     

          “The federal government has made it illegal to produce taxpayer-owned energy from taxpayer-owned lands for nearly three decades,” Pyle said.  “That’s a fact consumers need to understand as they cope with skyrocketing prices for everything from groceries to gasoline.  Most Americans understand the law of supply and demand, but they may not know that America is the only developed nation in the world that restricts access to its own offshore energy resources, or that an annual vote in Congress is required to continue that policy.  That time of the year has come, and the next 78 days will be a critical period for America’s energy security.  We hope IER’s Countdown Calendar will help educate consumers on what is at stake as their elected leaders in Washington debate the future of our energy policy.”

     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 – year to year – by a vote in the Congress.  The 2008 ban is set to expire on September 30th – the end of the federal government’s fiscal year – unless Congress approves a bill extending the ban and the president signs it into law.

     The Washington Post labeled the Congress’ annual appropriations rider “An Outdated Ban” on domestic energy production in 2006.  Indeed, the U.S. remains the only developed nation in the world to restrict access to its own offshore energy resources. 97 percent of America’s 1.76 billion acres of OCS lands are not leased for their energy potential. 

More on OCS Energy from IER:

The Institute for Energy Research 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).

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