Source: The Hill
Four Republican oil-state governors urged a slew of other coastal governors Monday to join a new coalition formed to ensure states play a bigger role in decisions regarding future offshore oil and gas development.
The Outer Continental Shelf Governors Coalition was launched Monday during a conference in Houston by Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour and Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell.
All four governors have been critical of the Obama administration’s energy policies. They have accused the Interior Department of moving too slowly to resume projects that were halted in the aftermath of last year’s Gulf of Mexico oil spill and in approving new drilling projects.
In a letter to every governor along the Pacific and Atlantic coastlines, the Republican governors say the Obama administration has not worked closely enough with states on major decisions related to offshore oil-and-gas drilling.
“Currently, all federal decisions regarding exploration and production must be made in consultation with affected states,” the letter says. “In recent months, however, the federal government has taken sweeping actions regarding offshore oil and gas activities with little consultation with the states. Unfortunately, many of these federal actions have been in conflict with our states’and citizens interests. [sic]”
The Republican governors called on their colleagues to join their coalition, which will work to “foster an appropriate dialogue between the coastal states and the Administration and ensure that future actions are done with adequate state input.”
The Consumer Energy Alliance (CEA), a Houston-based advocacy group whose members include major energy consumers like the American Chemistry Council and major energy producers like ExxonMobil and Chevron, quickly praised the formation of the coalition Monday.
“CEA applauds the collaboration of these governors in promoting an open dialogue about the need to and realities of producing American energy offshore, not only for their individual states, but for the entire nation,” CEA President David Holt said in a statement.
Here’s the full letter:
May 2, 2011
As you know, energy is the lifeblood of the American economy. Families, farms and businesses across the country rely on affordable, reliable energy to meet their everyday needs, and domestic energy production sustains millions of well-paying jobs across all the states. As Governors, we support policies that encourage an American energy expansion with all forms of energy production –both onshore and offshore.
Because of the importance of the offshore energy issues for our states, we are writing to ask you to join us in forming an Outer Continental Shelf Governors Coalition to promote a constructive dialogue among the coastal state governors and the federal government on these important issues.
Over the last several decades, advances in offshore oil and gas production technologies coupled with effective policies adopted by both state governments and the federal government have enabled the oil and gas industry to create hundreds of thousands of high paying jobs. Additional jobs in every sector of our economy –manufacturing, agriculture, chemicals, steel, transportation –are also directly tied to our ability to secure affordable and reliable transportation fuels and natural gas supplies.
Currently, all federal decisions regarding exploration and production must be made in consultation with affected states. In recent months, however, the federal government has taken sweeping actions regarding offshore oil and gas activities with little consultation with the states. Unfortunately, many of these federal actions have been in conflict with our states’and citizens interests.
For these reasons, we are forming the OCS Governors Coalition as a mechanism to foster an appropriate dialogue between the coastal states and the Administration and ensure that future actions are done with adequate state input. We are inviting you to join the coalition.
Representatives from the States of Louisiana, Texas, Virginia, Mississippi and Alaska will hold a formational meeting and announce the OCS Governors Coalition in Houston on Monday, May 2, 2011 during the Offshore Technology Conference.
Bobby Jindal Governor of Louisiana
Haley Barbour Governor of Mississippi
Rick Perry Governor of Texas
Sean Parnell Governor Alaska