The Minerals Management Service (MMS) recently published their draft proposed plan for the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) natural gas and oil leasing from 2007 through 2012. The draft proposed program (Federal Register, February 10, 2006) is critical in that it lays out the schedule and location for offshore lease sales which are the first step toward developing new domestic energy supplies. AGA has submitted comments which are attached below. All AGA member companies and their emplyoyees are strongly encouraged to submit comments also.
Your input will be important as the MMS decides on what areas of the OCS to open to exploration and development. It is essential that energy consumers urge MMS to expand the draft proposed plan to include ALL planning areas for further assessment and energy development. The current draft proposal is overly narrow. Some specific actions MMS should take include:
- Open the remaining "Sale 181," including the northern segment commonly known as the "Stovepipe";
- Make available for leasing other areas in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico, which is expected to hold significant resources;
- Expand the acreage offered for lease in the Beaufort and Chukchi Sea and Bristol Bay in Alaska; and
- Include other areas where MMS should initiate dialogue with states in the South Atlantic region - such as Georgia and the Carolinas - in a manner similar to their proposal for Virginia for possible leasing off their coasts.
Your quick action is very important - comments on this proposal are due at the agency by close of business April 11, 2006.
The following items are available under "Related Links" (in both Word and PDF formats, where applicable):
- How to Submit Comments
- AGA Comments Submitted March 27, 2006
- Sample Comment Letter
- Additional Comment Language (highlighting themes of particular importance to manfacturing, agriculture, senior citizens and transportation)
- Fact Sheet - Expanded OCS Access is Important for the American Economy
- Map of potential OCS natural gas and oil resources
You can use the sample letter as a guideline, and incorporate items from the additional comment language and fact sheet as you see fit. However, these letters are most effective if you also make it clear how the increased access to natural gas and oil in offshore regions will help your family, your business and your community thrive.
Please contact Tom Moskitis (202/824-7031) or Gordon Barnes (202/824-7202) with any questions or comments.