For over a year, it has been time for federal officials to give U.S. maritime services the long overdue certainty it desperately needs.
For the first time in history, U.S. officials did not produce a five-year leasing program before the previous one expired. The absence of a plan that charts the course for U.S. offshore oil and gas development is not only unacceptable, but also creates a ton of risk.
A lack of certainty and direction will generate a chilling effect on resource production at a time when global events are painting a clear picture that oil and gas supplies will be critical to meeting domestic energy needs and bolstering U.S. national security by supporting our allies abroad eager to break free of Russian energy supplies.
The worst part? This delay in production that has been caused as a result of this untimely delay will hurt American energy and national security.
Moreover, it’s important to recognize that a consequence of cutting off these means of U.S. energy production will make our country, and our allies, more reliant on unreliable foreign sources (like Russia and Venezuela) that are known to use much dirtier-burning fuels.
And if that wasn’t enough, a recent settlement from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management announced a new set of rules that would further restrict American energy production, under the guise of protecting our Rice’s whale population – a regulation only applicable to offshore oil and gas vessels.
Offshore energy development is a strategic asset for U.S. security and prosperity. A failure to provide certainty for this asset will mean serious blowback to an already struggling maritime workforce, the U.S. economy, our national security, and the future of our allies.
The waiting game being played by the Department of Interior needs to end, and needs to end now.
Mike Little Chief Warrant Officer and Warrant Officer Association of the USCG