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1/9/2017 Member News
Western Caucus Slams BOEM Decision to Reject Offshore Energy Exploration

Western Caucus Slams BOEM Decision to Reject Offshore Energy Exploration

Jan 9, 2017 
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today,  in response to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) announcement today denying six pending geophysical and geological permit applications to conduct seismic surveys in the Atlantic Ocean,  the Congressional Western Caucus, which includes members from Atlantic states, reviewed the decision and found it lacking a factual or legal basis.  

The decision denying these permits reflects the Obama Administration’s efforts to strangle the American energy economy and a failure of BOEM to meet its statutory duties to “promote energy independence” and “economic development through responsible, science-based management of offshore conventional and renewable energy resources.” 

Congressional Western Caucus Chairman Paul Gosar (R-AZ) remarked, “The Western Caucus is confident that under the Trump Administration, this misguided decision will be reversed and these permits will be approved. Today’s political maneuver by the Obama Administration threatens our security and American energy independence. There is no legitimate reason for these permits to have been denied and our members will work with the new administration to promote a true all-of-the-above energy strategy that is based on actual science.”

Caucus Member and Atlantic state Representative Dennis Ross (R-FL) stated, “Our nation needs all energy options on the table.  I am looking forward to working with the new Administration to make that a reality.”

Representative Jeff Duncan (R-SC), noted, “Well I can’t say that I’m surprised. The Administration’s own government scientists have stated that there is NO scientific evidence that seismic surveys have ever severely harmed or killed a marine mammal. This is clearly a political stunt, and emblematic of how the Administration uses administrative law as a weapon to abuse American companies. The Obama administration will go down as not only anti-energy but also anti-science. They want to keep the public in the dark about exactly how much resources are in the Atlantic, so they can't make informed decisions regarding their economic prosperity. The good news is the American voters rejected this kind of governance at the ballot box. I’m excited to say that all options are on the table with a new Administration. This will ultimately amount to a minor setback.”

Background (Courtesy of the House Committee on Natural Resources):

The Offshore Continental Shelf Lands Act states “the outer Continental Shelf is a vital national resource reserve held by the Federal Government for the public, which should be made available for expeditious and orderly development, subject to environmental safeguards, in a manner which is consistent with the maintenance of competition and other national needs.”

BOEM testified before the Committee arguing for more data in the Atlantic, including seismic surveying to see what is there, before future leases. In Director Abigail Ross Hopper’s testimony she acknowledges that G&G surveys are “not exclusively for oil and gas exploration,” and that they are “helpful in identifying sand used for restoration of our Nation’s beaches and barrier islands” and “protecting coasts and wetlands from erosion.”