In advance of President Barack Obama’s energy speech at Georgetown University, a top oil and natural gas industry leader called on the Obama Administration to abandon its policies “to defer, delay and deny access to domestic resources of oil and natural gas.”
In a statement to reporters during a media conference call this morning, American Petroleum Institute Upstream Director Erik Milito refuted a report by the Interior Department that U.S. oil and natural gas companies are sitting on oil leases granted by the government, refusing to turn them into producing leases.
“The report completely whitewashes the fact that in many cases, the reason these leases have no exploration plans is that BOEMRE is sitting on those plans,” Milito said. “This is like leasing an apartment from the government for $20 million dollars and the government refuses to give you the keys to the apartment – then the government proceeds to complain because you are not occupying the premises.”
Below, because I was unable to participate in the conference call today, I share an excerpt from the full text of Milito’s statement as prepared for delivery by API:
The disturbing reality is that 2011 could go down as the first year since 1957 that there has not been at least one offshore lease sale. Not one.
I’m certain that Americans find it difficult to reconcile that – and the fact that 85 percent of our offshore resources are off-limits to development – despite increased uncertainty in world oil markets and rising worldwide demand for crude oil.
President Obama has a speech on energy scheduled for later today.
We hope he will tell Americans that the administration will abandon their policies to defer, delay and deny access to domestic resources of oil and natural gas: Resources that could help create U.S. jobs, grow the U.S. economy and provide royalties, rents, and revenues to the U.S. Treasury.
However, reports suggest that the President wants to provide “incentives” to develop the leases the industry currently has, but may or may not, actually have oil and natural gas on them.
The reports are that these incentives include shortening lease terms and increasing royalty rates through a graduated system.
These are not incentives.
They are, in fact, disincentives.
These are actions that will discourage investment here in the US and shift that investment to other parts of the world – to places like Brazil.
We hope the president will abandon energy politics in favor of energy policies that will provide Americans what they want and deserve: more energy, economic growth and more jobs.
We have a million American jobs that we can create if our industry is allowed to produce the oil and natural gas in knows how to produce.
And we have 9.2 million jobs to protect – the jobs across the country supported by our industry.
We urge the president to join the oil and natural gas industry in helping us create and protect those jobs.
It is not too late to get America’s energy policy back on track.
If you oppose the Obama Administration’s actions that are literally killing the nation’s oil and natural gas industries, costing American jobs and making us more dependent on foreign sources of energy, CONTACT YOUR ELECTED OFFICIALS IN THE NATION’S CAPITOL, let them know how you feel, and make sure they know you’ll be watching their votes.
UPDATE 3/30/11 at 5:30 p.m. Central: Cross-posted at Andrew Breitbart’s BigGovernment.com.
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