October 2005

Energy development on the outer continental shelf begins

Washington, DC— The U.S. Department of the Interior’s Minerals Management Service has announced it is seeking public comment on energy development, economic and environmental issues in the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) areas, as the agency begins the process of developing its five year leasing plans for the region (2007-2012). The OCS holds billions of barrels of oil and trillions of cubic feet of natural gas, very little of which has been tapped.

“Energy is a significant manufacturing cost for the forest products industry—sometimes as much as 22 percent,” said W. Henson Moore, president and CEO of the American Forest & Paper Association. “Soaring energy prices have put our industry at a competitive disadvantage in the global marketplace where our international competitors have access to substantially lower cost energy, and this directly threatens American jobs. We must increase our supply of energy, and natural gas is both clean, and something we have right here at home.”

Moore served as deputy secretary of Energy from 1989 to 1992 and was quite vocal as Congress debated The Energy Policy Act of 2005 this summer. The bill, which passed Congress, and was signed by President Bush earlier this month contained provisions for the Department of the Interior to create inventories of natural gas deposits on the OCS.

“Congress did the right thing by directing Interior to conduct the inventories,” Moore continued. “But we need to do more than just find it. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to our nation’s energy woes, but expanding our access to our own natural gas deposits will go a long way to improving our energy policy, strengthening our economy, and having a positive impact on the environment.”

Moore said AF&PA would file formal comments with the agency and expressed his belief that tapping into our nation’s supplies of clean natural gas can be accomplished in a manner which is both environmentally sensitive and responsive to the needs of coastal states.

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