January 23, 2019

Deep Sea Drilling Showdown May Be on State Turf

Kristina Alexander

The Department of the Interior (DOI) proposed opening 98 percent of the United States’ offshore resources available for oil and gas production during the five-year lease period of 2019–2024; this will allow industry to “collect data in areas that have not been explored in decades.” 83 Fed. Reg. 829, 830 (Jan. 8, 2018). A closer look at the January 4, 2018, announcement and subsequent Federal Register notice shows that for the next five-year leasing program, DOI will offer 47 leases in almost all US coastal waters from Alaska to Maine. According to DOI, it is “the largest number of lease sales ever proposed” for a five-year lease schedule. Press Release, Dep’t of Interior, Unleashing America's Offshore Oil and Gas Potential (Jan. 4, 2018). Less than a week later, via Twitter, the Secretary of the Interior stated that Florida would be withdrawn from the lease sales. @SecretaryZinke, Twitter (Jan. 9, 2018, 3:48 pm). Subsequent statements by the administration suggest that DOI will review any state’s request to be excluded from the lease period.

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