State trade groups among coalition calling on Biden to increase production of natural gas and oil

A coalition of more than 80 trade groups across various industries — including the American Petroleum Institute (API) and several Pennsylvania-based organizations — is calling on the Biden administration to act on policies that increase domestic production of natural gas and oil.

One of those policies, they said, should be to implement a new five-year program for federal offshore leasing as soon as possible.

“For the U.S. to continue to be an energy leader into the future, smart and effective energy policies are needed today. However, your administration’s policies have often hindered domestic producers’ ability to deliver on this growing demand. Oil and natural gas leasing on Federal lands and waters has essentially stopped, despite court orders, and while DOI has taken steps to complete and implement the next 5-year Program, there will be an unprecedented gap between the current and next 5-year Program,” the groups wrote to Biden.

There were several Pennsylvania-based groups among the 80 signatories, including API Pennsylvania, Associated Builders and Contractors of Pennsylvania, Associated Pennsylvania Constructors, Pennsylvania Aggregates and Concrete Association, Pennsylvania Builders Association, Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry, Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, Pennsylvania Food Merchants Association, Pennsylvania Grade Crude Oil Coalition, Pennsylvania Independent Oil and Gas Association, Pennsylvania Independent Petroleum Producers, Pennsylvania Manufacturers’ Association, Pennsylvania Motor Truck Association, Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association, Pennsylvania Septage Management Association, and Pennsylvania State Grange.

In May, Department of Interior (DOI) Secretary Deb Haaland said during testimony that the DOI is far behind in developing and implementing a five-year program and will not have a new plan in place by the time the current program expires July 1. Further, offshore production in the Gulf of Mexico currently represents over 15 percent of natural gas and oil production and is among the lowest carbon-intensive producers in the world. Without a five-year program in place, no new offshore lease sales can be held, jeopardizing future domestic production.

“We are at a critical time where a lack of federal action and regulatory uncertainty may discourage companies from making the multi-billion-dollar investments needed to develop offshore resources in the U.S. and ensure the long-term viability of a lower-carbon national strategic asset,” the coalition wrote to Biden. “If the door closes to new U.S. production, investment dollars will instead flow abroad to more active basins to the detriment of American workers, energy consumers, and the environment.”

The group recommends several actions that the administration can take to avoid further economic impact, including executing the laws that mandate the DOI to complete a long-term offshore leasing program. This requires the prompt completion of the steps necessary to finalize the OCS Leasing Program for 2022-2027. The expected delay will harm American investment, production, and jobs, they said. Additionally, the administration should provide certainty on oil and natural gas leasing by compelling the DOI to meet deadlines and honor its obligation to lease on federal lands and waters.

Author: Dave Kovaleski
Publication: Pennsylvania Business Report
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