Kennedy, Republicans urge National Marine Fisheries Service to issue offshore oil and gas permits – Press releases
WASHINGTON — Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) joined Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and other Republican senators in writing to Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo urging the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to stop delaying permits for offshore oil and gas companies that carry out exploration work before drilling wells.
“As the Biden administration and members of Congress blame the nation’s oil and gas industry for sitting idle on more than 9,000 drilling permits and millions of acres of ‘idle leases,’ the NMFS represent an example of the administration’s de facto ban on new drilling – hampering domestic oil and gas investment, exploration and production,” wrote the senators.
“Specifically, we are aware that NMFS has a backlog of requests for ‘Letters of Authorization’ (LOAs), which Federal oil and gas concessionaires need to perform the specific geological surveys necessary to develop their leases located on the US Federal Gulf of Mexico’s Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). We understand that some pending LOA requests have been with the agency for over 100 days, whereas the NMFS has historically approved LOA requests within 2-4 weeks,” they continued.
The letter notes that the clearance delay is primarily due to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) inadvertently double counting projected exposure estimates for activities on the OCS, it relies on these errors. of calculation when drawing up the final rule in question.
The letter advises NMFS to:
- allow officials to approve pending and future LOA requests in accordance with agency authorization activities prior to the 2021 final rule,
- use NMFS discretion to immediately approve LOA requests that are most likely to bring production online first,
- issue a proposed new rule immediately and a final rule in a more reasonable time and
- move additional resources to process applications and make available to licensees any other alternative authorization process under the authority of the NMFS.
“It is unacceptable that the agency’s miscalculations have restricted access to safe, secure, and reliable domestic oil and gas production through substantial, unnecessary, and arbitrary permit delays,” concluded the senators.
The text of the letter is available here.