Thursday letters: Obama energy policy off base

May 2, 2013 

— President Obama’s 2014 budget plan for energy production amounts to a missed opportunity. It ignores the potentially huge oil and gas resources in untapped areas of the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf. His budget request would keep about 85 percent of U.S. offshore areas off limits to energy development, including the Atlantic, Pacific, large parts of the eastern Gulf of Mexico and most areas off Alaska.

This shortsighted policy still prevails, despite the fact that new innovations in drilling technology have improved the ability of companies to operate safely in more than 10,000 feet of water.

Just consider how much the administration’s crimped energy policy is costing the U.S. Treasury. A study commissioned by the Institute for Energy Research determined that closing off areas on federal lands and offshore waters is costing the federal government in the short run $35.8 billion in lost revenue from royalties and other fees, and $99 billion in the long run.

Obama’s refusal to open up new offshore areas to energy production stands in stark contrast to Sen. Lindsey Graham’s much fairer approach. A bill introduced by Graham would give South Carolina the option to allow oil and gas exploration from 10 to 50 miles offshore, with the state benefitting from the revenue stream that would accompany production of oil and gas that fuels our homes, transportation and businesses.

Jeffrey Nelson

Hilton Head

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