CEI’s Ebell Responds to Offshore Oil and Natural Gas Leasing Plan

Myron Ebell, Director of Energy and Environment at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, responded to today’s announcement by the Trump administration to allow drilling off all U.S. waters:

The Department of the Interior’s ambitious offshore oil and natural gas leasing plan for 2019-24 is welcome news, bringing more offshore exploration which will help keep America’s energy supply affordable and accessible. Secretary Zinke and his team have rightly rejected the Obama Administration’s massive withdrawals of offshore areas from leasing that were based on short-sighted views of current low oil prices.

There will no doubt be opposition and litigation from some states, such as California.  To gain support from the states, the Congress should pass legislation to share federal offshore royalties with the affected states.  It is only fair that royalty-sharing be extended to new lease areas.  For the past decade, Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, and Alabama have received a share of federal royalties from oil and gas produced off their coasts; and the Mineral Leasing Act of 1920 provides for royalty sharing for oil and gas produced from federal lands with the states where the lands are located.