U.S. Chamber Warns That Continued Offshore Drilling Moratorium and New Regulations Cause Greater Uncertainty for American Businesses

Wednesday, September 29, 2010 - 8:00pm

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Karen Harbert, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber’s Institute for 21st Century Energy, issued the following statement on the Interior Department’s announcement today that it will continue the moratorium on offshore exploration and issue new regulations for Gulf of Mexico drilling:

“Today the Administration not only continued its crippling moratorium on offshore exploration in the Gulf of Mexico, it also announced new regulations that will effectively keep it in place even when it expires. While the ongoing important investigations into the Gulf accident are necessary and may lead to new safety measures, requiring industry to navigate a tangled web of new regulations will only lead to increased uncertainty for businesses and consumers and less investment in America’s vast resources in the Gulf.

“To strengthen America’s energy security, protect jobs and spur needed growth, production must continue alongside safe exploration in the Gulf. Already, IHS CERA reports that to this point, the moratorium will result in 400,000 fewer barrels of oil in 2015 than anticipated—a number sure to increase. U.S. Gulf of Mexico production regularly contributes to a drop in U.S. imports. In 2009, for example, Gulf production accounted for 1.3 million barrels per day-- 30 percent of U.S. crude oil production. According to IHS data, Gulf of Mexico production offset the need for 4 percent of average daily imports to the U.S. last year.

“We remain concerned that the government has “no idea” when drilling will resume in the Gulf, as Director Bromwich said earlier this week. The fact that the Bureau of Ocean Energy, Management, Regulation and Enforcement has not considered how the new regulations will affect the industry is a chilling example of this Administration’s misguided approach that will have unintended consequences such as increased imports and fewer American jobs.

“We urge the Administration to adopt energy policies that encourage the development of America’s resources and protect America’s economic and energy security.”

The U.S. Chamber’s Institute for 21st Century Energy has been an active voice in the debate to promote safe exploration and production in the Gulf of Mexico. Through a growing coalition of state and local business groups, the U.S. Chamber has generated more than 6000 letters urging President Obama to lift the moratorium and adopt policies to put Americans back to work and promote economic growth in the Gulf region.

The mission of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Institute for 21st Century Energy is to unify policymakers, regulators, business leaders, and the American public behind a common sense energy strategy to help keep America secure, prosperous, and clean. Through policy development, education, and advocacy, the Institute is building support for meaningful action at the local, state, national, and international levels.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.

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