April 26, 2017

Cassidy, Kennedy Introduces Legislation Supporting Offshore Drilling

Cassidy, Kennedy Introduce Legislation Supporting Offshore Drilling

WASHINGTON—Today, US Senators Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and John Kennedy (R-LA) introduced the Outer Continental Shelf Energy Access Now (OCEAN) Act in the US Senate. The OCEAN Act revises the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act and the Antiquities Act so they may no longer be used by presidents to block offshore energy production. Representative Dave Brat (R-VA) has introduced companion legislation in the US House of Representatives.

Today, President Trump signed an executive order to review national marine monument designations. Later this week, Trump is expected to sign an additional executive order instructing Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to review moratoriums and future lease plans for offshore drilling.

“Moratoriums and restrictions on energy production hurts American workers and energy security,” said Dr. Cassidy. “President Trump pledged to create jobs and this legislation will bring those well-paying jobs with good benefits to Louisiana and all American families.”

“America must become energy independent, and this goal is well within our country’s reach.  However, under President Obama, we saw our energy creators become stifled by his ban on offshore oil and gas exploration off U.S. coastal waters,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “I am proud to be an original cosponsor to legislation that repeals job-killing moratoriums made by the previous administration and places Congress as a backstop to ensure the Executive Branch is unable to issue moratoriums on our energy industry without the consent of Congress.”


In December of 2016, President Obama issued a moratorium for offshore oil and gas exploration in parts of Alaska and off of the Atlantic Coast weeks before leaving office. President Obama’s moratorium withdrew hundreds of millions of acres of federally owned land in the Arctic and Atlantic Ocean from exploration.


The OCEAN Act would amend the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act and the Antiquities Act to:

  • Require an Act of Congress to establish new moratoriums on offshore drilling and to create new Marine National Monuments
  • Rescind all previous moratoriums other than Marine Sanctuaries and National Monuments
  • Allow presidential withdrawals during a national emergency for up to 90 days, subject to renewal
  • Would limit the President’s ability to declare or reserve any ocean waters or lands beneath ocean waters as a national monument


To read the full legislative text, click here.


To read the summary, click here.


This legislation is supported by American Petroleum Institute (API), National

Ocean Industries Association (NOIA), Arctic Energy Center, U.S. Oil and Gas Association,

Alaska Support Industry Alliance, International Association of Geophysical Contractors (IAGC),

Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council, Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE),

Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA).


See statements in support below:


“Representing nearly a quarter of America’s domestically produced oil and natural gas, offshore energy is an irreplaceable part of our nation’s energy, economic and national security puzzle. Along with opening up responsible access to our vital resources, the OCEAN Act would protect our nation’s offshore access from the threat of short-sighted, politically-expedient and, most importantly, unilateral executive actions. America’s offshore energy industry appreciates the efforts of Senator Cassidy and Representative Brat on this issue, and we look forward to seeing this bill moved forward.” – Jeff Vorberger, NOIA Vice President, Policy & Government Affairs


“The U.S. oil and gas industry is well-positioned to safely produce offshore energy for decades to come.  Sen. Cassidy’s proposed legislation elevates the U.S. as a leader in offshore energy development and will help create thousands of good-paying jobs, produce affordable energy for consumers, and enhance our national security.” – Erik Milito, API Upstream and Industry Operations Director


Last March, Senators Cassidy and Kennedy, along with US Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Thad Cochran (R-MS), introduced the Unleashing American Energy Act of 2017. This legislation seeks to overturn eight years of significant restrictions on energy exploration and development. The former administration reversed plans to offer lease sales in the Atlantic and additional lease areas off of Alaska, which cost American jobs and denied potentially billions of dollars of investment in the US economy.


Currently only 6% of the Outer Continental Shelf is available for energy production. A Quest Offshore Resources report projects that development in the Atlantic alone could create 279,562 jobs and trigger $194 billion of investments by 2035.


The Unleashing American Energy Act of 2017 seeks to remedy this issue by empowering the Secretary of the Interior to add additional lease sales to an existing 5-year plan.

  • Permits the Secretary of the Interior to add additional Outer Continental Shelf oil and gas lease sales to an existing 5-year plan
  • Allows for new acreage to be made available years earlier than current process would allow
  • Allows the Secretary to reverse the former administrations shortsighted decisions to remove Artic and Atlantic lease sales from the current 5-year plan
  • Stimulate thousands of good paying jobs along with billions of dollars of investment
  • Add billions of revenue for federal, state and local governments
  • Ensures continued considerations for: state preferences, environmental sensitivity, industry interest, fisheries, marine navigation and national energy markets.


To read the full legislative text, click here.


To read the summary, click here.