WASHINGTON— U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) responded to U.S. Senator Bill Nelson’s (D-FL) inaccurate criticism of his legislation to expand offshore energy production:
“Florida is a part of the Gulf and their residents should benefit from the Gulf’s natural resources. Families across the nation, including in Florida, would hold jobs with better wages and better benefits that are created by expanding offshore energy production. I don’t understand why anyone would deny Floridians, or anyone else, access to these jobs.”
S. 1276, the Offshore Energy and Jobs Act of 2015, provides new access to frontier acreage in the Gulf of Mexico in areas beyond 50 miles of the Florida coastline by redefining the Eastern Gulf moratoria in 2017. According to current law, the moratoria is scheduled to expire in 2022. S. 1276 directs the Department of Interior to hold three lease sales in the Eastern Gulf in 2018, 2019, and 2020. Offshore production would be shielded from view sight.
S.1276 is supported by national energy and manufacturing organizations. The Florida State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Florida Transportation Builders’ Association, and the Florida Retail Federation have all called for the inclusion of the Eastern Planning Area in the administration’s 2017-2022 draft proposed offshore leasing program.
In addition to providing energy access, S.1276 brings greater equity in revenue sharing for the Gulf States that host offshore energy production. Under this legislation, Florida could receive $12.9 billion for hurricane protection and coastal conservation over a 18 year period.
Developing oil and natural gas resources in the Eastern Gulf could produce nearly one million barrels of oil equivalent per day, generate nearly 230,000 jobs, contribute over $18 billion per year to the U.S. economy, and generate $70 billion in cumulative government revenue by 2035 according to a 2014 API/NOIA commissioned study.
According to the Energy Information Administration, in 2014, about 27% of petroleum consumed by the United States was imported from foreign countries. About 13% was imported from Saudi Arabia and 9% from Venezuela. This legislation provides greater access to fossil fuels to strengthen our energy independence.