ATA blasts new offshore drilling delays

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The American Trucking Associations on Monday, Dec. 6, blasted the Obama administration’s decision last week to scale back the federal offshore leasing program to limit domestic oil and gas exploration.

“This latest plan, coupled with the ‘de facto’ moratorium on both deep and shallow water drilling in Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico, keeps abundant supplies of oil and natural gas off-limits, preventing them from being safely leveraged into more American jobs and secure, affordable energy supplies for American businesses and consumers,” says Rich Moskowitz, ATA vice president and regulatory affairs counsel. “Restricting offshore exploration is a major setback for our nation’s quest toward reducing our dependence on foreign energy sources. Limiting access to domestic oil jeopardizes the efficiency of our supply chain, our economic health and ultimately harms American consumers.”

In a reversal of the administration’s previous position on offshore leasing, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar on Dec. 1 announced a delay in the lease sale of areas off the coast of Virginia by removing it from the 2012-2017 federal outer continental shelf leasing plan. The administration also reversed course on its plans to accelerate leasing in the eastern Gulf of Mexico to within 125 miles of Florida and indicated that it would delay planned sales in the western and central Gulf of Mexico originally scheduled for 2011. Additionally, they will not hold new lease sales in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas in northern Alaska through 2012.

“Furthering our dependence on imported oil will lead to higher prices at the pump,” Moskowitz says. “When fuel prices rise, so do the prices of all goods carried by trucks.”