Secretary Salazar Details Strategy for Comprehensive Energy Plan on U.S. Outer Continental Shelf
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced a strategy Tuesday, February 10, extending public comment period on a proposed 5-year plan for oil and gas development on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf and calling for a detailed report from Interior agencies on conventional and renewable offshore energy resources.
Topic: The Secretary says he will extend the comment period on the Bush administration’s 5-year plan by 180 days.
"March 23rd - the deadline for public comment that the Bush Administration established - by no means provides enough time for public review or for wise decisions concerning the future of the vast outer continental shelf. I am therefore extending the public comment period on the OCS draft proposed plan by 180 days. This additional time will give the states, stakeholders, and affected communities the opportunity to provide input on the future of our offshore areas. The additional time will also allow us to restore an orderly process to our offshore energy planning."
Topic: Secretary Salazar has directed scientists in the USGS and MMS to assemble all available information on offshore gas, oil and renewable resources, to help guide decisions on an offshore energy strategy.
"We shouldn't make decisions on some of the most important taxpayer treasures, America's treasures based on old information. We need to shine light on the path ahead with the best information we can develop. So today I am directing the United States Geological Survey and the Minerals Management Service and other departmental scientists to assemble all the information we have about our offshore resources, conventional and renewable along with information we have about potential impacts from development. I'm directing our scientists to provide me that report within 45 days from today."
Topic: Secretary Salazar will convene meetings in coastal areas to hear from stakeholders on offshore energy development.
"To gather the best ideas for how we move forward, I will convene four regional meetings in the thirty days after MMS and USGS publish their report. I will host one meeting in Alaska, one in the Pacific Coast, one in the Atlantic Coast, and one in the Gulf Coast. I will be asking all interested parties - including the oil and gas industry, including governors, including the environmental community - a simple question: what are your recommendations on how we define the future of the OCS through appropriate changes in the 5 year plan? "
Topic: Secretary Salazar describes the scale of what is at stake, given the area that the Department of the Interior oversees in the Outer Continental Shelf is nearly ¾ the size of the United States landmass.
"We will determine in what areas we need more information and we will create a plan for gathering that information. That is no easy task, the Department of Interior oversees 1.7 billion off-shore acres: an area roughly three-fourths the size of the United States of America's landmass. And that is what is at stake here as we move forward with a new five-year plan for development in the offshore areas. "