Interior Reverses Proposal to Allow Atlantic Offshore Drilling
A little over a year ago, the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) made headlines when it announced a new proposal to open waters along the Atlantic coast between Virginia and Georgia to offshore oil and natural gas drilling. However, in an apparent about-face, DOI recently announced that – due to economic and military concerns – the department was withdrawing its proposal.
This news is extremely disappointing because energy development on the Atlantic outer continental shelf (OCS) would provide a major economic boon for the region. According to figures from a study released by the National Ocean Industries Association (NOIA) and the American Petroleum Institute (API), offshore drilling in the Atlantic could create nearly 280,000 jobs, spur an additional $195 billion in new private investment, contribute up to $24 billion per year to the U.S. economy, and generate $51 billion in new government revenue.
According to DOI estimates, there are roughly five billion barrels of oil and 48 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in the Atlantic OCS. Because these estimates are based on surveys from the 1980s, the oil and gas industry suggests that the amount is likely much higher.