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Interior Is Weeks Away From Holding the Largest Oil and Gas Lease Sale in History

by The Daily Signal | 3.27.18

Tim Pearce / @timbpearce / February 24, 2018

The Interior Department next month will offer 77.3 million acres for offshore drilling in what the federal agency calls the largest oil and gas lease sale in U.S. history.

The sale March 21 will cover areas off the coasts of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida, including about 14,776 lease blocks from 3 to 231 miles offshore.

“Responsibly developing our offshore energy resources is a major pillar of President [Donald] Trump’s American Energy Dominance strategy,” Interior Deputy Secretary David Bernhardt said in a prepared statement.

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“A strong offshore energy program supports tens of thousands good-paying jobs and provides the affordable and reliable energy we need to heat homes, fuel our cars, and power our economy,” Bernhardt said.

The sale is part of the Trump administration’s National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program, a five-year initiative that may open up areas along the Atlantic and Pacific coasts and around Alaska to offshore drilling. The administration touts the plan as a reversal of the previous program under former President Barack Obama, which placed 94 percent of the Outer Continental Shelf off-limits to drilling.

“We have the strongest safety regulations in the world, and today’s technology is making the responsible development of our resources even safer,” Bernhardt said, adding:

We look forward to this important sale and continuing to raise energy revenues, which fund efforts to help safeguard our natural areas, water resources and cultural heritage, and to provide recreation opportunities to all Americans.

The government may decide later to open more of the Outer Continental Shelf and offer it in a lease sale.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has promised to meet with every governor opposed to opening waters off their states’ coasts to offshore drilling. Already, Zinke has promised exemptions to Florida Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican, for some areas off the state’s coast.

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The Daily Signal

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