Steve A. Stone
Dear Friend and Patriots,
The Department of Interior (DoI) has submitted its new offshore drilling lease plans for the next 5 years. If you look at the information below, you’ll see the title of the Environmental Impact Statement part of the plan that’s open for comment.
Let me start by giving you the text of a letter released from my Congressman on Friday, 15 July 2022:
I am reaching out to share an update regarding our recent correspondence about inflation and energy independence. Unfortunately, President Biden is not backing down on his war on American energy and has not taken any meaningful steps to address our nation's crippling inflation rates.
On July 1, the Department of the Interior (DOI) released its proposed five year plan for offshore oil and gas lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico. In an unprecedented move, the DOI proposed several options for the final plan, including an option for zero offshore lease sales in the Gulf from 2023-2028. If DOI proceeds with no new lease sales for the next five years, the price of fuel and basic goods will only continue to skyrocket. The previous five-year plan included more than 10 offshore lease sales, and in May 2020, the Biden administration canceled the last three remaining lease sales scheduled under that plan. It's obvious the Biden administration has no desire to reverse its assault on American energy, address rising inflation, strengthen national security, or lower the cost of living for hardworking Americans. They plan to keep begging other countries like Saudi Arabia and Venezuela to pump more oil.
As required by law, DOI is required to hold a 90-day public comment period to collect the opinion of the American people regarding the proposed plan. The Department will review the public comments before finalizing the plan later this year. The Biden administration needs to hear the perspective of American people—not just the perspective of climate activists who want to ban fossil fuels in this country overnight. This comment period is the perfect time for Americans to speak up about Biden's energy crisis and how it effects their day-to-day lives.
I encourage you to join me in submitting thoughts on this proposed plan. You can submit your comments here. Once on the webpage, click the green box that says, "submit a formal comment." Comments must be submitted by October 6, 2022.
If you would rather mail your comments, please label the envelope, “Comments for the 2023-2028 National OCS Oil and Gas Leasing Proposed Program," and send it to the address below:
Ms. Kelly Hammerle, Chief, National OCS Oil and Gas Leasing Program Development and Coordination Branch Leasing Division, Office of Strategic Resources, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (VAM-LD), 45600 Woodland Road, Sterling, VA 20166-9216
It is my great honor to serve as your Member of Congress, and it is my number one priority to represent you and the best interests of the First District of Alabama. If you would like to stay in touch with my office, visit carl.house.gov to sign up for my e-newsletter. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future with any of your questions or concerns.
Member of Congress
If you follow the links, it takes you to the DoI site and to the studies being commented upon. I decided to play the game and post a comment, then register on the site so I can follow up to see if my comments are opened and read. The text below was sent to my E-mail address, confirming my account and commentary. I replicate it below exactly as I received it. I note the comment is in the form of a long, continuous paragraph, not an exact replica of the way I posted it.
Your comment has been sent for review. This process is dependent on agency public submission policies/procedures and processing times. Once the agency has posted your comment, you may view it on Regulations.gov using your Comment Tracking Number.
Agency: BUREAU OF OCEAN ENERGY MANAGEMENT (BOEM)
Document Type: Notice
Title: Environmental Impact Statements; Availability, etc.: 2023-2028 National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Proposed Program
Document ID: BOEM-2022-0031-0001
With all due consideration for the truth that drilling in a marine environment will always present hazards and challenges, I take care to note that energy availability is the key to any nation's future. It's the key component to the degree of a nation's quality of life. It's a key component to any nation's financial stability. It's also a key component to any nation's ability to defend itself or to project power. The US has $30T in debt. The only way we'll ever be able to resolve a debt burden that huge is to reverse our negative balance of trade and run the nation's budgets at surplus levels for a significant duration of time. The only commodities we have that can possibly guarantee the returns needed to do that are oil and natural gas. Lucky for us, we have oil and gas aplenty. We are sitting on oceans of it, yet, because of policy we are hardly tapping our reserves. While anyone can appreciate the wisdom of managing our reserves wisely, because we actually have no idea of the size of those reserves it's likely that we can become too conservative and under-serve our national needs. Our problems are not a lack of energy availability. Our problems are not the potential of environmental depredation that is warned of if we increase our exploitation of oil and gas. Our problems are almost entirely political. If the nation is to survive we must cope with a Congress that insists on spending wealth we do not have, then refuses to do the one thing that could resolve the issues they've created. Two things are necessary – Congress must learn to act in the interest of the people, which it hasn't for the past 50 or 60 years, and we must take actions to pay down our enormous debt. If those two things aren't done, the US will soon fail as a nation. The DoI has a large role to play, simply because it controls the lands and ocean areas of particular interests to the production of energy. In theory the government works for the people. According to that theory the DoI also works for the people. If that is true, then the government at large, and the DoI in this particular instance, must take the needs of the people into account, which isn't being done in any discernible manner. The studies and reports done by DoI are done only in answer to the needs of politics, not of the people. The lands and sea beds in question are not owned by the government, not owned by DoI. They're held in trust by the government for the needs of the people of the nation. Today, it's the people who have needs, and those needs are due to the flagrant abuses of Congress in incurring the $30T in debt. I've stated the nation's need. DoI can't control Congress, but it can contribute to resolving the needs of the nation and its people. We need the energy that is under your cognizance. We need to export. We need to pay our debt down if we're to be the nation we once were. We need all that in order to lead the entire world to a better outcome than the one currently being planned for us. Your recommendations leave me cold. There are no answers to any of our nation's problems in it. You have reflected only a willingness to do your part in guaranteeing the bankruptcy of us all.
In this missive, I’ll only give you a thumbnail of what’s in the report recommendations. You need to know that the new “best” recommendation is for only one offshore lease sale per year, not the ten that were done in previous administrations. You also need to consider the impact of having only one lease area in Alaskan waters and only one in the lease region of eastern Gulf of Mexico. Taken altogether it appears to be a very, very constrained lease plan proposal.
I encourage each of you to go to the DoI site and look for the report referenced in Congressman Carl’s letter. Make your own comments. Mine are just mine, I encourage you to ensure you don’t include overtly ideological statements or accusations (though several of my statements could be taken as such). Just state your opinions as objectively as you possibly can, then register the comment so it will be included.
Read that last sentence again. It’s important. Comments are easy to make, but if you don’t register on the DoI website your comments will not be saved. I thought that was pretty clever of them! I would ensure to use the computer generated password they assign, rather than put one of your own. Just save it, along with a copy of your comments.
Commenting on government plans may be a waste of our time. How do we know? In today’s digital environments, we never know what is true and what is not. We don’t know if our comments are read and counted, or just stored in some digital vault so we can access it using our DOI-supplied access code, but otherwise not considered. How are we to know? How are we to trust? Yet, because that’s the opportunity that we are afforded we need to register our own considerations.
Lest you think I mislead you, when you look at the DoI page of interest you’ll note there will be several comment Digital Town Halls held that regard the DoI plans for off-shore drilling leases. There are instructions there that regard when and how to register to sign on to those Town Halls. Having participated in such Town Hall events before, I can assure you your comments will be heard. I cannot assure you they’ll actually matter. All is left up to the integrity of the DoI. I wish I could comment on that favorably, but I cannot. I’m like you. I find interacting with government agencies to be like staring into space. It’s an abyss that tells you nothing. It only hints at its own vastness.
Do what you will. My recommendation today is to play the game. It’s the only way to force light into that abyss. Of course, that assumes it’s open for any.
Steve© Steve A. Stone
The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.