U.S. oil and gas lobby criticizes federal leases

Long-view need for U.S. oil and gas planning, industry says.

By Daniel J. Graeber

WASHINGTON, Feb. 10 (UPI) -- A federal draft five-year lease plan for oil and gas exploration in U.S. waters is too restrictive, the American Petroleum Institute said.

The U.S. Interior Department released a draft proposal for 2017-22 for access federal waters. Ten leases are planned for the Gulf of Mexico, three for offshore Alaska and one, a debut, for waters in the Atlantic.


API President and Chief Executive Officer Jack Gerard said the proposal still leaves the bulk of the federal offshore waters off limits to potential exploration.

"This is America's energy moment," he said in a statement Monday. "But the moment will pass unless our government leaders allow more exploration and production of our abundant oil and natural gas resources."

The five-year lease plan was met with frustration from leaders in states where oil and gas brings in significant revenue. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, said leaving other parts of her state on the sidelines as federal wilderness left her "skeptical" about the White House commitment to energy security.

Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., whose state depends heavily on coastal tourism, said threats from Atlantic energy work may have "catastrophic" impacts on the region.


The federal lease proposal has a 60-day comment period, which ends March 30. API's Gerard said that, while the U.S. economy was benefiting now from the oil glut, federal planners need to take the long view.

"Let's seize the opportunity in front of us and secure America's position as the world leader in energy and job creation," he said.

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