Offshore U.S. Energy is Critical to National Security
Posted October 17, 2018
Our American way of life and the freedoms we enjoy are intrinsically linked to our ability to access the vast energy resources that exist here in the U.S., on our land and off our shores. At the same time, 94% of America’s offshore energy resources are completely off-limits to natural gas and oil leasing and development – leaving hundreds of thousands of potential American jobs off the table, disallowing an abundant domestic energy supply and keeping us partially reliant on foreign sources to meet our energy needs.
We’ve talked before about the “Explore Offshore” coalition – a bipartisan group comprised of more than 150 diverse community organizations, associations, businesses and local leaders in Atlantic coastal states who support increased access to offshore U.S. natural gas and oil for responsible development using advanced technologies. Check out the video below to hear from the coalition’s national co-chairs, former Secretary of the Navy and former Democratic Virginia Senator Jim Webb and former Secretary of Veterans Affairs Jim Nicholson, on the importance of offshore development:
Webb reinforced the critical value of offshore energy development to U.S. national security in a recent op-ed in The Virginian-Pilot. Webb:
“Energy unites economic and national security priorities in a way few other issues do. Our strong position with natural gas exports helps diversify European options with respect to energy imports from Russia. Our energy exports — both natural gas and crude oil — provide options against potential adversaries whose economies are based disproportionately on energy wealth. China, a strategic competitor and now the world’s largest net importer of petroleum, must rely on U.S. energy for a growing share of its market.”
U.S. natural gas and oil production plays a vital role in enhancing the security interests of our nation and our allies, growing the local and national economy, and contributing to the communities in which we live. Offshore energy exploration and production helps supply safe, reliable energy for American consumers, small businesses and manufacturers, and plays a key role in the nation’s economic future. Webb:
“The U.S. energy boom has also allowed the United States to put increased pressure on the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. The rise of U.S. energy has added stability to global markets, reducing OPEC’s power and undercutting its efforts to restrict energy supplies and maintain higher prices. The free market of our energy sector also makes U.S. companies more innovative and flexible in adjusting to low prices — a major advantage over OPEC countries, which are usually dominated by national oil companies.
“The United States can increase these advantages through renewed emphasis on safe and technologically advanced offshore exploration, which is increasingly in use throughout the world. Ninety-four percent of federal offshore acreage is currently off limits to energy development. The Trump administration’s National Offshore Leasing Program for 2019-2024 would change that by opening key areas off the Atlantic Coast and in the eastern Gulf of Mexico. Recent advances in safety solutions, plus improvements in business practices and tighter government standards, guarantee that offshore exploration can be safe, targeted and productive.”
The U.S. has vast natural gas and oil potential off our shores that should be safely harnessed for our country’s long-term needs and security. But don’t take my word for it, hear from CNBC's Brian Sullivan who recently reported from an offshore drilling platform in the Gulf of Mexico:
America needs to correct long overdue energy policy shortcomings and modernize the unnecessarily restrictive approach to the exploration and safe development of national gas and oil resources that lie offshore. Technology, drilling techniques and industry standards have all changed greatly since these restrictions were put into place. Our national policies should mirror the significant advances that have been made in these areas, for the good of our national security and our economy. Webb:
“The technical process of exploring offshore energy reserves would be the first step in a careful process conducted with safety measures that will protect America’s beaches, ecology and maritime necessities. It offers an opportunity to solidify our place as a global energy power and to guarantee energy independence at home.
“It is time to begin that discussion. Ten years from now, we will be glad we did so.”
About The Author
Jessica Lutz is a writer for the American Petroleum Institute. Jessica joined API after 10+ years leading the in-house marketing and communications for non-profits and trade associations. A Michigan native, Jessica graduated from The University of Michigan with degrees in Communications and Political Science. She resides in Washington, D.C., and spends most of her free time trying to keep up with her energetic Giant Schnauzer, Jackson.