Obama Approves Expansion of Off-Shore Drilling in Alaska – Drill Baby Drill?

In an attempt to continue the Obama Administrations’ policy of expanding domestic energy production, the Obama Administration has announced a five year offshore drilling plan. The targets – the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska.

No Way Out? 

With all the advancements in the field of alternative fuels, the fact remains America is still addicted to oil. For decades America has been trying to scheme ways to boost its oil nut. Recent examples of this include invading oil rich nations and opening oil reserves to ease the oil addicted American economy.

The program is called the Proposed Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program. Supposedly, the program will make more than 75% of oil and gas resources that are undiscovered and technically recoverable now available for exploration and development.

Department of the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, a right of center Democrat, praised the program as an important step toward economic recovery,

“Expanding safe and responsible oil and gas production from the program is a key component of our comprehensive energy strategy to grow America’s energy economy, and will help us continue to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and create jobs here at home.”

Reactions from the GOP ranged from lawmakers saying the Obama Administrations’ program did not go far enough while other Republicans such as Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) were pleased with the proposal.

The Proposed Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program does not open up protected lands in Alaska for drilling. So no, this program is not quite “Drill Baby Drill”. The program will last 5 years and is part of a multi-step process required by law before the Secretary of the Interior may approve an additional and new 5 year program.

The Great Off-Shore Expansion 

In the Alaska Region, the program proposes one sale in the Beaufort Sea in the year 2015. This sale excludes at least two whaling deferral areas from leasing consideration. In the Chukchi Sea, the proposed program schedules one sale in 2016, excluding at least a 25-mile buffer area along the coast. The Cook Inlet Planning Area is included on the schedule as a special interest sale, if there are buyers who are interested, which may occur as early as 2013.

The Central and Western Gulf of Mexico Planning Areas remain the two areas of highest resource potential and interest. The Proposed Program schedules annual area wide lease sales of all un-leased available acreage. This leasing will start in 2012 in the Western Gulf and 2013 in the Central Gulf.  Additionally there are two lease sales scheduled in the portion of the Eastern Gulf of Mexico Planning Area that is not under congressional moratorium.

These sales and leases are for organizations to conduct exploratory missions to see if resources are abounded and accessible in those areas. However, how many times in the annals of history has exploration lead to exploitation especially when big government dollars are on the line?

As the Proposed Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program kicks off; currently Cuba, Mexico, the Bahamas, Canada, and Russia are all moving ahead on offshore development adjacent to America’s borders.

Source: The Huffington Post

Andrew Meggison was born in the state of Maine and educated in Massachusetts. Andrew earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Government and International Relations from Clark University and a Master’s Degree in Political Science from Northeastern University. Being an Eagle Scout, Andrew has a passion for all things environmental. In his free time Andrew enjoys writing, exploring the great outdoors, a good film, and a creative cocktail. You can follow Andrew on Twitter @AndrewMeggison

Andrew Meggison

Andrew Meggison was born in the state of Maine and educated in Massachusetts. Andrew earned a Bachelor's Degree in Government and International Relations from Clark University and a Master's Degree in Political Science from Northeastern University. In his free time Andrew enjoys writing, exploring the great outdoors, a good film, and a creative cocktail. You can follow Andrew on Twitter @AndrewMeggison