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Energy Industry Leaders Want More From Draft Plan for Oil & Gas Drilling

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Semisubmersible Oil Drilling Rig

The U.S. Department of Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management recently released a draft strategy for offshore oil and gas leasing. Now, the federal government is hosting a series of meetings around the country to gain public input. But leaders of the energy industry say the government’s draft plan of leasing areas isn’t enough.  

The government’s current draft proposal, according to the American Petroleum Institute, closes 87% of offshore waters to oil and natural gas leasing. And the portion available for energy development could shrink even further before the draft becomes finalized. Randall Luthi of the National Ocean Industries Association says:  

"This draft program offers fewer sales than the current plan. It adds questionable limits, such as a fifty-mile buffer zone off the Atlantic, reduces the areas available for further analysis, and omits other offshore areas from consideration altogether."

Luthi also says the oil and gas industry has always been supportive of a reasonable plan to share revenue from drilling with coastal states.

Opponents to offshore drilling say such energy production and exploration could harm sensitive marine environments and the coast.