Dear Secretary Haaland:
We are writing regarding your July 1, 2022, release of the "Proposed Program" for the Interior Department's Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program. While the release of a "Proposed Program," after months of delay, is a step in the right direction, we are concerned by the Department's suggestion that a no lease option is a possibility for the final program. Further, failure to conduct any lease sales which encourage bidding could, as the Department says, cause increased air emissions from substitute production, primarily from overseas imports. We are also closely monitoring efforts by the administration to halt lease sales or to make lease sales economically unattractive in order to discourage bidding.
American families are struggling to keep up with rising costs due to inflation, high energy prices, and persistent supply chain issues. In addition, local businesses that are part of the ecosystem of U.S. energy production are being confronted with decisions that impact their employees and employees' families due to uncertainty about future natural resource development. Also, our allies in Europe are facing an energy crisis forcing the closure of manufacturing businesses and impacting supply chains which also leads to inflationary pressures throughout their economy. It is our obligation to do everything within our power to help ease these burdens and remove this uncertainty for both Americans and our allies.
One of the most effective ways we can do this is to increase future domestic oil and natural gas production through long-term leasing certainty. That is why we are encouraging 10 lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico and one lease sale in the Cook Inlet in the next five-year offshore leasing program.
The Department can help domestic energy production and put American energy consumers first. While the Department has awarded leases to the high bidders in Lease Sale 257, the Department should also 1) conduct the three congressionally mandated offshore lease sales with economically competitive terms and robust acreage that will attract significant industry interest; and 2) offer quarterly lease sales with desirable acreage across federal lands. Finalizing the five-year program with a commitment to semi-annual area-wide lease sales will also be a big step for American energy security and demonstrate to the American people the administration is serious about actions that can contribute to lower energy costs.
We appreciate your attention to this matter and look forward to seeing the release of the Final National OCS Program for 2023-2028.