OCS Hearing 2009 Atlantic City
April 6, 2009
Atlantic City, NJ
When: Monday, April 6, 2009
Doors open at 8 AM, event begins at 9 AM
Where: Atlantic City Convention Center
One Convention Boulevard
Atlantic City, NJ
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
REGIONAL PUBLIC MEETING ON ENERGY RESOURCES OF THE OUTER CONTINENTAL SHELF (OCS)
ATLANTIC COAST REGION
UNITED STATES GEOLOGICAL SURVEY (USGS) MINERALS MANAGEMENT SERVICE (MMS)
USGS/MMS REPORT OVERVIEW OF DOI FINDINGS REGARDING OCS ENERGY RESOURCES WITH PANEL AND GUEST COMMENT
MONDAY - APRIL 6, 2009 ATLANTIC CITY CONVENTION CENTER
ATLANTIC CITY, NEW JERSEY
SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR: KEN SALAZAR
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR PANEL MEMBERS:
BRENDA PIERCE ROBERT LaBELLE
(REPRESENTATIVE) FRANK LoBIONDO (NJ) (REPRESENTATIVE) RUSH HOLT (NJ) (SENATOR) ROBERT MENENDEZ (NJ)
(GOVERNOR) JON CORZINE (NJ) (GOVERNOR) RONALD CARCIERI (RI) (REPRESENTATIVE) FRANK PALLONE, JR. (NJ)
(REPRESENTATIVE) ROB BISHOP (UT)
SECRETARY SALAZAR: First of all, thank you all for coming. I am the
Secretary of Interior and I have decided to come here to New Jersey to be with my good friends Jon Corzine and Senator Menendez, Representative Holt and others to start our efforts to define how we move forward with the resources of the American citizen out in the Outer Continental Shelf. I appreciate all of you being here this morning and giving us input as we move forward on the development of this plan. So that Governor Corzine, to Governor Carcieri from Rhode Island to Congressman Frank Pallone, Congressman LoBiondo, Congressman Rush Holt who actually was the person who suggested that we might want to come here to Atlantic City. And to Congressman Rob Bishop. Thank you for being here. Time is 9:02. All the way from Utah. Shows you how important New Jersey is, huh? So thank you for being here.
Let me first say that on February the 10th I made an announcement with
respect to the OCS that said that we were going to take more time to come up with a new
five-year plan for the OCS. I did it frankly because the prior administration at the very end of the administration had decided to move forward with an expedited review of the five-year plan. The five-year plan currently in place runs from 2007 to 2012. On January the 21st, the day after the inauguration, the Federal Register notice that the decision had been made to go ahead and reopen the OCS five-year plan in an expedited way and so we felt it was necessary to take additional time to make sure that we got it right and that's what this meeting and future meetings are all about.
So four things that I said on February the 10th. First was we would go
ahead and have 180-day comment period on the new five-year plan.
Two, that I would ask the USGS and the Minerals Management Service and the
Department of Interior to come forward and develop a report that showed what we knew and what we didn't know about the OCS and you will hear from them later on this morning on the conclusions of that report.
Third, that we would go ahead and have the people of America who are most
affected by the decisions we make on the OCS have an opportunity to provide us comment and input as we move forward and; fourth, that we would move forward in expeditious way and finalizing rules that have been out there with respect to alternative energy, but have not yet been finalized and so this is all part of the process.
This purpose and the purpose of this meeting is to have an open and honest
conversation with all of you here in New Jersey and along the Atlantic Coast and all across America with the other stakeholders. We want to gather input from you as we move forward and develop a comprehensive energy plan for the Outer Continental Shelf. I want to make a comment about how this fits in with the vision that President Obama and I have with respect to the energy future of this country.
During the time of his campaigns he ran for the presidency of the United States and since then he has talked
often about a comprehensive energy plan where we need to look at all the forms of energy as we move forward into a new energy frontier for the United States of America. I often thought about that new energy frontier and the imperatives that really compel us and move forward to grasp this moment and a moment that we cannot afford to fail on. And those imperatives, in my point of view, are: One, economics. Last year we sent about 700 billion dollars to places far afield, mostly in the Middle East to track to get oil from those countries brought into our country. We know we can create jobs if we move forward with new energy opportunities here in this country. And we know we are already doing it with respect to wind energy and solar energy and other kinds of energy that we can produce.
The second imperative is our National security. We have been frankly, in
my view, funding both sides of the war on terrorism because of the massive amounts of money that are now transported to places that are unfriendly to the United States, and the third imperative for this new energy frontier
is dealing with the reality of climate change and global warming and you need only to read the reports from the USGS in the last few days on what's happening with respect to the Arctic Circle and Antarctica to know that global warming is an issue which we cannot afford to simply let go and not address. So those imperatives really are driving the President's vision for a new energy frontier.
Let me, again, say we are making progress. We are not standing still
and just letting the world define us as we move forward on this agenda. When you look at the building where we are in today, we are in a building that is powered in large part by, I think, the largest solar array Governor Corzine was telling me in the country. 25 percent of the energy in this building actually is being captured from the sun. And it's having a tremendous demonstrable leadership effect on what we can do with respect to solar energy even here in the Atlantic.
Just over the last year we have doubled -- we have 85,000 people who are
working in the wind industry. 85,000 people, 85,000 jobs working in the wind industry across this country. We have more than 80,000 jobs. These are people who have real jobs working in the solar industry here in America. That number has quadrupled just in the last two years.
Let me just make a quick comment about the report that you will hear
from MMS and USGS about. And that is that they have found that with respect to renewable energy there is tremendous potential concerning winds off the Atlantic and many of the states have been leading this effort already in terms of proposing projects for wind energy off the coast. Governor Corzine and Senator Menendez have been great leaders here in New Jersey in moving that agenda forward. Governor Carcieri, same thing, and many of the Atlantic states have really embraced this agenda and we hope to take this potential that's out there. According to our report there is 1,000 gigawatts of power. That's a million megawatts of power that are developable off of the Atlantic Coast. When
you think about that, put it in the context of what it means with respect to an analogy or a comparison to coal-fired power plants it's equivalent of the amount of energy that we can produce from about 3,000 medium size coal-fired power plants. That's a tremendous amount of wind energy that's out there in the Atlantic. We also know that there is oil and gas potential and I know that there are some people who want us to close the door on oil and gas, but the reality is that we have oil and gas potential in significant ways, especially in the Gulf Coast of Mexico. Whether we open up other areas around the OCS is something that will be decided based on the hearings and input that we receive from people around the country.
The agenda for today is that I was going to have MMS and USGS, each of them,
present the findings of the report for probably somewhere between 15 and 30 minutes and then I was going to go ahead and turn it over to governors and let the representatives for each of them give a five-minute statement.
Does that still work for you
all, because I know that, Governor, you were on a tight time line and so were you, Senator?
GOVERNOR CORZINE: Yeah.
SECRETARY SALAZAR: So with that what I want to do is turn it over to the people who really have been working very hard
on this report. I asked them to go back to look at all the information that had been prepared by the U.S. Geological Survey, the U.S. Geological Survey is one of the best earth science agencies in the world. I'm proud that they are part of the Department of Interior. MMS has had the responsibility for developing the Outer Continental Shelf now for nearly 30 years and they are the tremendous repository of most of the geophysical and environmental information that we have with respect to the OCS. And so they have been working tirelessly and they and a team of people out of those agencies to prepare a report today and the two presenters are Brenda Pierce from the U.S. Geological Survey and Bob LaBelle with the Minerals Management Service, so, Brenda and Bob, I will turn it over to you at this point. Give them a round of applause.
MR. LaBELLE: Thank you, Mr. Secretary. Good morning. It's my pleasure to be here today representing
Minerals Management Service and to share with you the fruits of our labors over this past month or so in doing this survey of the available resources, both oil and gas and renewable, as well as a look at environmental sensitivities and today we'll focus off the Atlantic Coast.
The types of renewable energy we'll be speaking of today is wind, wave and
ocean current energy, and there are some example devices on the slide that you can see for each of these types of energy. And we're going to start with, I should say, talking about renewables and then Brenda Pierce will talk to you about the oil and gas resources offshore.
Population density. This graph slide speaks for itself along the coastal
areas. I believe the red in that is 1,000 people per square mile, so you can see where we all live. And I went a little quickly here. I didn't see my first slide. There we
go. Beautiful shot of the country at night and you can see the use of electric lighting across the country. Notice along the coastlines, I don't know whether you can see in this lighting, but along the coastlines and the density populated areas, very, very high use of electricity, which corresponds to the population. And, fortunately, it also corresponds to the locations of offshore wind resources. Almost all of the information we're going to give you on these renewable resources comes from Department of Energy and we thank them very much, especially the NREL labs. This is a map that shows the wind speed data. The red that you see there offshore -- first of all, you see middle of the country, the Great Plains and the wind resources there and the red offshore is a very high class of wind speed, translated to about 18 to 20 miles per hour in terms of the wind blowing, to put it in perspective. So this corresponds to areas where we can get energy that are near the populated centers.
I'd like to just back up for a moment and talk about terminology, if I could.
Those of us who pay our electric bills probably know that kilowatts are on the bill. What do we measure our energy in for our household. So what is -- you'll hear when you get into offshore renewable energy or any type of energy, people will talk about megawatts and gigawatts and even terrawatts. So just a quick frame of -- a thousand kilowatts is known as a megawatt. And a thousand megawatts is a gigawatt. Now, to put this in perspective, a one gigawatt source of power would be the equivalent of what's produced by about three average typical coal electric generating plants.
Now, energy consumption, the average household and, of course, this
differs. This is just an average, but about 10,000 kilowatt hours per year is what a household would use. So looking at a resource of one gigawatt of wind power, this would supply between about 225,000 to 300,000 average U.S. homes with power annually.
Now, this map, don't worry too much about the -- we have a blowup on the next
slide, but just look at the colors if you
would and at the bottom chart. This shows the regional offshore wind energy potential capacity, so it shows where and it gives figures. If you look for the Atlantic on the table below, you'll see 253 gigawatts in the shallower waters. That's zero to 30 meters of water in depth offshore. And then you see the total going up beyond 50 meters depth is a thousand gigawatts of potential off the entire Atlantic Coast. Here's the blowup in terms of depths. 165 gigawatts at zero to 30 meters. This is just for the mid Atlantic now. We're focusing -- since we're here in New Jersey, we're focusing on the mid Atlantic region and from 30 to 60 meters depth, 181 gigawatts. From 60 to 900 meters -- 59.7 gigawatts and greater than 956.6 gigawatts. At the bottom, if you assume that about 40 percent is developed of this resource, and you can take the assumptions you want, but the assumption is given, all the other competing uses for that offshore area, fishing, sensitive areas, military uses, et cetera, so assuming a 40 percent, for example, development of this would be 185 gigawatts and that would
translate to powering about 53 million average U.S. homes.
And I'm going to now turn it over to Brenda Pierce of the U.S. Geological
Survey to take you through the oil and gas resources.
MS. PIERCE: Thank you, Bob. The OCS holds tremendous potential of all of
these renewable as well as oil and gas resources. To show you the MMS planning areas, it's this lighter area and that's what MMS uses to plan and do resource potential as well as management. Resource estimates are just that. They are estimates. They are statistical evaluation of geological and geophysical data, but according to MMS estimates, after more than 50 years of exploration and development, there is still 70 percent of the potential resource yet to be discovered. So there is potential or tremendous potential for oil and gas resources still out there.
If you look at the resources broken down a little bit more by area, we have
oil on the left and gas on the right. These
are undiscovered, but technically recoverable resources. Technically recoverable means those resources recoverable with today's technology and industry practice. Undiscovered means those that have yet to be found that we think are out there based upon the data that we have, the geological and geophysical data. So if you look at this, both the oil and the gas are the same graph. We have Alaska, the Atlantic, the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific on both sides. You can see that most of the potential resource out there is in the Gulf of Mexico for both oil and gas, followed by Alaska. The sides of the graph here are in billions of barrels of oil and trillion cubic feet of gas, but even though the most is in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska, there still is considerable amount in the Atlantic and Pacific. There is still tremendous potential out there.
Now, if we look at them broken down a little bit more, this is the comparison
of current annual production in the United States, as well as reserves and resources.
So like Bob, I want to spend
just a moment on terminology, because they are very important. We start on the right-hand side here. We have what is called technically recoverable undiscovered resources. So those are the resources and MMS's estimates that are technically recoverable, but have yet to be discovered. These may or may not be economic. These may or may not be produced ever. But this is what is out there that is technically recoverable in the whole OCS.
If you move to the left this bar chart is what is economically recoverable
of that technically recoverable part. This is given at a range of prices. This is just one of them at a midrange, so only a small proportion of or a smaller proportion. Technically recoverable is economically recoverable at any one time and that makes sense. We give a range of prices, because, as we all know, oil prices fluctuate wildly and it's important to give a range of prices so one can see what's economically recoverable at different prices.
And smaller yet, these are all subsets of the same pie are those that we call
reserves. Reserves is that portion of the resource endowment that is actually economic now. It's being produced. There are oil and gas resources that are in producing fields. So you can see it's a much smaller part of the pie. So these are what's being produced now over time.
And then this very small production number is what's being produced in
one year in the United States with offshore and onshore. So this is just a comparison of
the full range overall in the
of resources and reserves United States. Same with natural gas. We have quite a lot of natural gas that recoverable in the OCS by MMS.
an estimate of is technically A smaller proportion of that is economically recoverable at any given time based upon lots of things, the market, the price of oil at any one time. A smaller proportion yet are the reserves of what is currently being produced or in oil and gas fields currently being produced. And then this is what the U.S. produces every year both on and offshore.
So, again, to give a
perspective, so the numbers you see may or may not be produced, only a smaller proportion of them are at any one time.
So if we turn to the Atlantic since we're here in New Jersey, MMS has three major planning areas in the Atlantic. And of
that you can see all of the data that they have that they use to actually do their oil and gas resource estimates. If you look at these little red dots here and here and here where they're concentrated, these are actually exploratory wells, so they're wells under the ocean floor where we actually have real data, real rock data, real subsurface data and you can correlate those with these lines and that's all the seismic data that's also been shot out there and this is a way to image the subsurface under the ocean floor so that we can interpret what is there.
So all of these data are put together to look at the rocks in the
subsurface, see what might house oil, what might house gas. These are the estimates that MMS has from all of those data that I just showed you. So, again, oil on the left, gas
on the right. So if we look at the technically recoverable resource estimates, this is just for the Atlantic OCS area, we have a technically recoverable estimate of almost four billion barrels of oil in the Atlantic.
Now, because oil and gas estimates are that, they are estimates, we
usually give them as a range of estimates. So you will see and they're probabilities. So there's a very high probability. There's at least one billion barrels of oil off the coast of Atlantic. There's a lower probability that there may be as much as more than seven billion barrels. But the average is almost four billion barrels. And then you'll notice again the economically recoverable is a smaller subset of that, depending on price of oil, the cost of materials, bringing it to market and those types of things.
Turning to gas, the technically recoverable at the average or the mean
estimate is almost 40 trillion cubic feet of gas and, again, that's given as a range. There's a very high probability. There's at
least 14 trillion cubic feet of gas in the Atlantic. There's a lower probability. There's 66 trillion cubic feet of gas and then the average of a little less than 40 and economically recoverable is a subset of that, as would make sense.
So what are the resource data gaps needed still to understand more and
perhaps get some better estimates? The seismic data on the Atlantic are more than 25 years old. You'll see that they were very widespread, but they are dated. They're still good data, but technology has increased a lot. So new seismic data are needed for certain areas, certainly to better inform management decisions. Whatever management decides on that, we need some more data.
There is current interest by the seismic industry. MMS has received permit
applications from five companies for seismic surveys and they have received permit -- a permit application for one company for an aeromagnetic survey. So more data to get the subsurface. MMS has announced an intent to prepare an environmental impact statement on
geological and geophysical activities in this region and we can't emphasize the environmental issues enough and so the last part of the presentation is the environmental issues, because they're important, no matter what type of development or even if development comes on. They're irreplacable resources in and among themselves.
MR. LaBELLE: I would like to just briefly talk about the environmental part
of the report. I encourage each of you to go on-line and look at the report fully. A third of the report is devoted to environmental issues. It was written by the expert staffs at both agencies and using whatever available scientific information exists and some of the key environmental issues, of course, are listed. In fact, hopefully all of them are listed in the report, but I'm not going to touch on all of them this morning but the overall goal here is for good stewardship of our resources and a balancing which is required by the enabling legislation for what we do to help meet the energy needs of the nation. Energy needs while taking into
account environmental sensitivity productivity and the other users of ocean resources.
First a word on the challenge of climate change. The authors of the report
fully realize that the challenges due to climate change have a potential to affect many aspects of what goes on offshore. Because the report is a survey of existing environmental sensitivities, we do not -- we felt it was beyond the scope of the report to go too in depth in climate change, but there certainly needs to be a recognition up front that potential impacts on climate change are real on three fronts.
One is the change -- potential changes to living resources and their habitat
from changing climatic conditions and the results of that. It also has the potential to effect the physical resources themselves. Frequency of wind and wave activity, for example.
And, finally, it would have potential effect on offshore structures out
there and human safety, so we had to certainly acknowledge climate change up front and the
potential effects. Now, with regard to, again,
Atlantic Coast environmental resources, in the report you'll find write-ups on things like air quality, water quality, socioeconomic impacts, fisheries, coastal birds, et cetera. What we'd like to just go over with you this morning is some of the key challenges that our experts felt are remaining in this area. And one is noise in the sea. With regard to activity in terms of sonar the military has found that it's quite controversial with possible impacts on marine mammals. There's a lot of public concern about it. There's some concern about the effects of seismic noises on marine mammals. And just learning more about the marine mammals offshore of the Atlantic, the whales, et cetera, there are several endangered species out there, so consultations that would occur as activity might proceed out there are very key.
The next bullet says -- talks about the lack of onshore infrastructure.
There's a section in the report on coastal resources and this is trying to get at the
notion of unlike in the Gulf Mexico, for example, which has a solid infrastructure in place along the coast to bring in energy, the Atlantic doesn't have that as yet. By the way, I should have said right up front. These environmental aspects are applicable to either oil and gas production or renewable energy production. In the report we break it up separately.
Bird interactions. Incredible flyways out there off the Atlantic Coast. Not
much is known about marine birds. There's a lot of people very, very interested in birds, as are we, and especially migratory pathways and what they call hot spots where lots of birds come in in certain parts of the coast at certain times of the year.
Fisheries. Multiple use of the ocean with regard to recreational and
commercial fisheries. The use of bottom-anchoring capabilities might interact with where the fisherman want to drag their nets, for example.
Multiple use I just mentioned. That includes other uses out there in terms of
military uses, sensitive environmental areas, fishing areas, cables that come to shore for various reasons and, of course, tourism.
Here we are in Atlantic City. Certainly concerns about effects on tourism.
If you do anything to the seascape and, of course, the issue of oil spills is always very much on the public's mind and in terms of offshore oil and gas in Federal waters, there's been a very good safety record with regard to oil spills. But in the public's mind, oil in the water, whether it's from a tanker bringing in imported oil, the public really doesn't care where it comes from. Oil in the water is definitely something that everyone wants to avoid, so we take steps to try to address the actual risk based on historical records and we have that in the report, so I hope you do read that.
I believe, Mr. Secretary, that that's all I have for this.
SECRETARY SALAZAR: When we asked USGS and MMS to put together this report
we said the facts and science, that's what we're about. And they have worked very, very
hard and very, very long hours to come up with this report and one of the things I asked them to do was to make the presentation that was understandable to the world and I think they have done so, so give Brenda and Bob a round of applause.
We are going to do now, just so you know the rest of the agenda, hear from the
governors, members of Congress. Following that we'll do a break and then as soon as the break is over -- we'll do about 15-minute break, we'll come back in and whoever's here wants to comment will have an opportunity to comment if you have filled out your information card and so hopefully you have picked up a card and you have filled it out and given us whatever comments you have and if you wish to speak, there's a place where you can mark it on the card and we'll go through and give people an opportunity to provide comment till about noon today.
So with that -- by the way, where is staff who's collecting these? So
there's staff around. If you have one of the cards, just give it to one of the staff
members and then they'll bring it up here. Let me with that just turn it over to the great host, Governor of New Jersey, Governor Jon Corzine who has a passion for solving problems and particularly this issue he and Senator Menendez and Congressman Holt wanted me to come here to Atlantic City because they said this is where you will learn about the importance of alternative energy as well as the importance of e-care with respect to the OCS, so Governor Jon Corzine.
GOVERNOR CORZINE: Thank you, Mr. Secretary. First of all, let me thank you
for hosting this conference on energy development on the Offshore Continental Shelf, and it is absolutely vital to the state of New Jersey, but it is for all of us along the Atlantic Coast and I welcome all my colleagues here and we are welcoming to Utah as well, Congressman Bishop.
It is absolutely essential that we take the kind of objective information that
you all have developed and come up with long-term public policy that I think will allow for us to meet those imperatives that
you talked about. Certainly have an economic imperative in the world that we live in today challenged as much as ever. Our National security interests are at stake and certainly the climate change issues are.
In the state of New Jersey we are particularly pleased that you are taking
this step back and looking at the development offshore, the Continental Shelf resources. We are particularly enthusiastic about the focus on alternative energies with very strong commitments in both the near term and over the long term with regard to development of alternative energies, particularly renewables, a 30 percent mandate by 2020. A interim mandate of about 1,000 megawatts of wind by 2012/2013. We are very much looking forward to working with you and your staffs to be able to make that come to pass.
You will see that we've already made commitments as you spoke about on the
solar array on this building and you'll see a wind farm here in Atlantic City, but we need to move forward and take advantage of the strength of the winds that you have identified
off our coast. We also need to work as a group to coordinate and I look forward to working with you and your organizations to make sure that that happens.
We do have a fairly strong view in my administration and I think and most
corridors within the state of New Jersey that the development of offshore drilling, oil and gas, would be a significantly lower priority relative to our commitment to renewables. Some of the data that I saw relative to the overall consumption and production would reinforce that view, given the limited capacity relative to the great need and put in conjunction with one of those imperatives of climate change and so I think you will find for most of the folks who speak from a New Jersey perspective that offshore drilling and pursuit of those resources is not something we have an appetite for and I'm personally very strongly opposed to moving in that direction, but it is something that should be evidence based in the context of other kinds of alternatives of production of energy.
So I think this is a terrific
effort that you have put in place to review this on a thoughtful and comprehensive basis and we look forward to contributing in any way possible, including, by the way, working with my colleagues both in the Congress, but fellow governors in the Northeast along the Atlantic Coast to make sure that we're coordinated on our renewable activities in a way that fits very closely with yours. I hope we can get quick answers from your people with regard to how we can go about permitting and getting moving on offshore. Thank you.
SECRETARY SALAZAR: Thank you very much, Governor Corzine. And the Junior
Senator, the great senator from New Jersey, Senator Bob Menendez.
SENATOR MENENDEZ: Thank you, Mr. Secretary. Mr. Secretary, let me welcome
you again to New Jersey and thank you for choosing New Jersey to hold this regional meeting. You have by your presence here today, you've made good in your commitment that you told me at your confirmation that the Interior Department would be from sea to shining sea. Not just a department of the
west, but a department of the whole country and we appreciate very much that you are here today and I'm glad and proud to be here with Governor Corzine and a bipartisan group of members of our New Jersey delegation that are unified in our position. And I want to specifically applaud all of the renewable energy efforts that are being considered. My focus of my comments I want to be on offshore drilling.
Mr. Secretary, you were a champion of the environment when you were in
the United States Senate and I know as Secretary of Interior you will be so as a great steward of our environment and our land for future generations of Americans. But, Mr. Secretary, for those of us in New Jersey, offshore drilling is the same as oil shale drilling in Colorado. The risks are greater. The rewards are less. It perpetuates our dependency on oil. It is not environmentally friendly and, frankly, we just simply don't want it. I'm concerned that even though I understand the nature of how this report has come about, I think there are some critical
issues, issues that I mentioned too at the energy hearing that we had before the energy committee when you last appeared, that it does not fully consider and that is the full effects of the potential impacts that drilling would have on coastal economics like fisheries and tourism and the environmental health of our shore. A comprehensive study that includes cataloging environmentally sensitive areas, possible environmental impacts as well as possible economic harm to coastal economies, I think, are in order.
You know, we clearly understand that drilling off our shore or anywhere near
it for that fact, because the ocean doesn't come in neat little boxes and contains itself, obviously, the consequences of a potential spill in our neighboring states can very easily end up, for example, on Cape May and the southern part of our state. And the tiny amount of oil, relatively speaking, even looking at the maps -- the presentations that were made, that it might eventually produce isn't worth the risk to New Jersey's 38 billion dollar tourism industry, a 4.5 billion
dollar fishing industry, to the more than 200,000 people those industries directly employ and the thousands more they indirectly employ along the shore, to the hundreds of millions of dollars in property values that would be affected and to -- and I would invite you, even though it's not the greatest day outside, at your break to look at incredibly beautiful beaches that millions of us love and consider a birthright. Investing in renewable energy and conservation will create far more jobs, more energy and do far more to end our dependence on foreign oil.
Mr. Secretary, you told me when you took the job of Interior Secretary that
you wanted to be part of President Obama's goal of an energy moon shot and I'm with you on that. That's a bold visionary and dynamic plan to end our dependence on oil and create a renewable energy portfolio that would create a new generation of green jobs, fuel our economy and deal with global warming. But drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf isn't an energy moon shot.
Now, the Jersey shore isn't
just a beautiful place. It's a natural resource to us and to the nation. And it is one of our biggest economic entities. If we put up oil rigs and gas rigs near the shore, we put our entire economy at risk.
Let me just give you two examples what happened when our shores are
damaged. When medical waste washed up on New Jersey beaches in 1987 and '88 tourism plummeted and revenue fell by more than a billion dollars, and that was waste that could be fully cleaned up, unlike an oil spill. After the Exxon Valdez spill 21,000 gallons of crude oil still lingered off the coast of Alaska. And their beaches are still stained with oil more than 20 years after the spill. So we're not just talking about temporary damage. All it would take would be one oil spill in our vicinity to do long-lasting damage to the Jersey shore and the economic benefits we get from it and for those who say that today's drilling technology is taking care of those challenges -- that was a different type of spill, obviously, a tanker spill, but for those who say drilling
technology provides no risk, I would call for your attention to the seven million gallons of oil that were spilled during Hurricane Katrina.
If you recall, Mr. Secretary, in some of our debates in the Senate. I had
some of the blowups from the U.S. Coast Guard of those massive oil spills and what it meant. Clearly there's a reason that even those who advocate for revenue sharing out on the Continental Shelf say that in addition to the desire to get resources, they recognize that there is a risk and because of that risk they feel they should be compensated, so there clearly is a risk and the threat from oil isn't just that it would wash up on the beaches.
Burning causes global warming which is bringing the entire coastline under water and it's exacerbating flooding in many
parts of our state. So for all of these environmental economic risks we'd be running, what would we get in return? The answer is very little. If we started drilling right now we wouldn't see any oil or gas from the Outer
Continental Shelf for a decade and even then the quantities are so small compared to the billions of barrels a year we import that it would have essentially zero impact on the price we pay at the become pump.
Of course, since this is a global market, there is no guarantee that oil
drilled here stays here for domestic use. But we also have to ask would the oil companies -- would they even be ready to start drilling? As oil and gas prices have fallen since last summer the number of working oil and gas rigs in the country have been cut in half. Which has meant layoffs for thousands of oil and gas workers.
This, despite the fact that millions of onshore approved leases go
untouched and of all of the areas already leased on the Outer Continental Shelf only 25 percent have been drilled.
If we want to create jobs and end our dependence on foreign oil, there's a
better way and that's the moon shot you've been talking about, Mr. Secretary, with the President. One study in the University of
Massachusetts suggests that every dollar invested in green energy creates more than as many as three times as many jobs as a dollar invested in oil and coal and those are jobs that can't be outsourced. Mr. Secretary, I hope that as you travel the country and listen to different opinions, let's take the energy moon shot. Let's not shortchange our future, our economy, our energy dependence. Let's create the energy independence that the vision that President Obama has and in that respect I look forward to working with you and the President so that we can assure that in fact we break our dependence, we move to those renewable energies, create a new generation of jobs that are domestically produced and cannot be exploited. We do something about global warming which is real in terms of the lives right here in New Jersey and in doing so I think that we can write a new chapter for this country. Thank you for coming today and thank you.
SECRETARY SALAZAR: Thank you very much, Senator Menendez. And to show how
bipartisan we are listening to the entire
world, the republican governor from the great state of Rhode Island, Governor Carcieri. Given him a New Jersey welcome.
GOVERNOR CARCIERI: Thank you very much, Mr. Secretary, and let me
acknowledge again to thank my good friend Governor Corzine and Senator Menendez for hosting this here and it's a great idea and thank you for coming.
This is not a partisan issue, I agree. This is right now, as far as I'm
concerned, and Governor Corzine made the same point, you made it earlier, this is a National emergency right now, frankly, for our nation. The dependence on oil and natural gas has gone on too long for all the reasons you said. In terms of its economic vulnerability to our nation and our prosperity and National security, all of those reasons.
I represent a small state in New England, the Ocean State, by the way. And we don't have oil. We don't have natural gas,
all right? But according to the map you showed up there, we have great wind resources and we have made a major commitment to that
and I am here today really also representing the New England governors, former chair of the New England Governors and currently vice chair of the Coalition of Northeastern Governors and Governor Corzine was past chair of that. We have a common agenda.
All the New England governors and northeast governors have made a major
commitment from a policy standpoint to have renewable energy and particularly wind represent a significant portion of our requirements of energy. It varies between 15 and 20 percent you heard as we were discussing it earlier, but it's a significant commitment. And it has become the topic of discussion. In the most recent meetings we were all together in Washington, National governors met and Governor Corzine, Governor Paterson who is the current chair of the Coalition of Northeast Governors, all of us were there committed to saying we've got to move this as fast as possible. We all have projects, as you heard and you're aware, of varying scale varying numbers, but this is a sense of urgency that we get this moving and get it right.
As you know, looking around the world Europe has had huge success already with
offshore wind. Jon might remember it in the Governors conference in Washington the last day the Energy Minister from Denmark came and spoke to all the governors and she was eloquent, eloquent in describing the impact that renewable energy, particularly wind resources, both onshore and offshore, have had on that country in terms of dependability and stabilizing their cost.
So there's a huge commitment right now of all the governors and it is the
topic of discussion. We all have projects at different stages and, as I said, right now there's, I think, little debate about the reliability of the wind resource here in the East Coast. There is a debate as you're aware, at the National level. A policy debate right now when you look at the middle part of the country where wind farms are going up at a very rapid pace and the issue of subsidization of the transmission structure. Because, when you go back to that map, you know, unfortunately for the people in the Midwest
that are building those, all the populations in the East Coast. And we have underway right now amongst the New England states a study and analysis being done of the transmission structure and it's going to require some investment, but sort of business logic would tell you that investment would be relatively modest, if not small, in the comparison to the kind of investment that we required to bring power being generated from wind from the middle part of the country to the East Coast.
With most of the technology right now and we're particularly interested in
Rhode Island and what's called a deep water technology, we can be further out. A company we're working with is sort of piloting technology that comes out of Europe where you get into 125, 150 feet of water, which has lots of advantages and but still when you do that along the East Coast, you're probably 20 miles from the mainland. So from 20 miles out we can plug in, you know, utility scale wind farms right to where all the people are. And that has to be from an economic analysis standpoint much more desirable, much more
efficient than trying to pipe this, and no offense to our friends from Utah, but it's got to be a lot more efficient to do that. So in the scheme of the policy debate and the necessity for some kind of possible subsidization of transmission structure, clearly that in the East Coast has got to be a major part of the equation.
We're conscious of the discussion we had earlier that we need to get
this coordinated amongst the governors and we're committed to doing that. Jon and I were talking about that a little bit earlier. I think from your standpoint one of the best things right now is to help us is getting those regs done and getting the regulations promulgated so we get some clarity in terms of the practice the process is going to be. I think expedited, this is something I'd ask you to consider, that given the urgency that we get some of these farms up and get this demonstrated capacity serving our citizens that we find a way to sort of expedite. You know, kind of permitting process, once the regs are done. Because there are, I know,
many, many projects that are just ready to go and as I indicated to you earlier, you know, we pledge to work cooperatively with our Federal partners, because each of the states are doing things right now in terms of special area management plans for the ocean areas around each of the states. Those I'm sure can be easily coordinated into a master plan, if you will, so you would have a good picture of what this might look like up and down the coast and I know in our case in Rhode Island we have the same process underway and I know MMS, for example, as well as Army Corps of Engineers are well integrated into that right now. So there's no surprises. They understand what we're doing and feeding into that and I think that is all positive.
We are, as I said, heavily focused on deep water technology and Deep
Water Wind Group that we are working with has the technology they've licensed out of Europe. So the jacketed technology so that these platforms are just pinned to the ocean bottom as opposed to the monopole structure.
We are pushing very hard and I
would ask for your help being selfish in this a little bit in a smaller scale project that will actually be primarily in state waters and but it's important that MMS understand all the science behind it and what we're doing.
To get this going even faster hopefully, it will be within our permitting
responsibilities, but need our Federal partners to be a part of that. But we are very hopeful that this will demonstrate the feasibility of this technology and produce wind power at very, very favorable rates.
So we are working very, very rapidly on many fronts as are all the other
governors in the northeast and I think the sciences, the technology is pretty well demonstrated. I don't think we're breaking new ground here in terms of, you know, whether this will work or not. It's been shown to be feasible and work quite well. I think right now and I know this is an issue you focused on, so this is not in any way a criticism. You've got it at the top of your priority. All I would encourage you is that anything we can do to help you accelerate the process of
the regulations and the permitting and working with our resources as individual states, we would offer to do that.
I would just finish that where I started, that what happens to us, we all -- we've forgotten that just last summer oil was
$147 a barrel. Some people have forgotten. Some of us have not. Governor Patrick hosted a meeting of the New England governors back in September and you know we were all panicked like what are we going to do, because we don't think our citizens understand that oil was $4.67 a gallon at that point. And that people were not prepared for that. And then something happened on the way to the forum, so to speak, and, you know, oil plummeted down to $47, but it's hovering around 50. There's no question, there's no question that once this economy rebounds, which it will, and the global economy that we're going to be back in the same position that fossil fuel prices are inexorably going to rise dramatically. So even though a little bit of a tendency to get a little maybe complacent, because the prices are low, and if you analyze which I had for
our people the savings to the average American today on gasoline, for example, where it was -- as everybody forgets, gas was over $4 a gallon. Today it's two. Well, two bucks a gallon, you know, to the average household is probably using 25 gallons a week, 50 bucks a week, 25, 2,600 bucks a year is pretty significant benefit that has been accruing to our economy, to our consumers, to our citizens right now. And when you take a look at the impact on energy, it's huge. It's huge. So I would just --
By the way, the other thing you hear a lot of talk about electric vehicles, electric vehicles, which I think are a good
thing. And they're going to develop, but that means you've got to have a grid that's supplying reasonable electricity, stable prices that are going to replenish the powers that power those. So to me, this is a virtuous, you know, a virtuous argument. All of the wonderful things about wind power being renewable, clean, green, et cetera, the jobs, all the things that have been mentioned, are unequivocal.
The question is right now for us as a nation just we've got to move this
ball forward. And as you know, there are lots of governors that are at the starting gate here waiting for the gate to open, so that we can get these projects done and I know I'm preaching to the choir. I know you understand this. You believe it. All I'm sitting here to say is that anything we can do to help you in that process we are prepared to do, because there's huge urgency that we get on with this. So thank you for being here.
SECRETARY SALAZAR: Thank you very much, Governor. I know the elected
officials here have very tight schedules and have some other things that they have to do. I know Governor Corzine has another commitment that he has to run to and I also know that Congressman LoBiondo has another commitment that he has to run to, so if you have to leave, thank you so much for your participation. We'll continue to take the rest of the comments from the elected officials before we get to the break and then we'll go to the public for their comments.
So the next person that I was going to call on is Representative LoBiondo.
Thank you for being here this morning. REP. LoBIONDO: Good morning
and thank you, Mr. Secretary, for holding this nationwide forum and picking the first of these four to be in New Jersey and here in my district in Atlantic City. We very much appreciate the opportunity to express points of view to be taken into consideration for how policy is developed. I'm a life-long resident of New Jersey and South Jersey, and I remain and continue to be opposed to any proposal that would authorize drilling off of New Jersey's coast. For the past several sessions of Congress I've introduced legislation that would prohibit Secretary of Interior from leasing oil and gas leases on portions of the Outer Continental Shelf located off the coast of New Jersey and very shortly will be reintroduced legislation in this 111th session of Congress.
Mr. Secretary, I applaud you for encouraging the discussion during these regional public meetings and only on -- not
only on conventional sources, but on the potential impact and also the premise of renewable offshore energy resources. We must aggressively pursue cleaner energies which are sustainable and produce no greenhouse emissions.
After witnessing the success of Atlantic County Utilities Authority's wind
turbines, I strongly believe that the state of New Jersey has taken a huge step in the right direction, that these policies have proven to be worked off a pilot project and proven to be worked off a larger scale.
We cannot, however, ignore the reality of traditional fuel sources such as
oil and natural gas production that the important role they continue to play and you've emphasized that in the preliminary portion of the program and by the presentation. But I strongly believe that on the more than 68 million acres across the U.S. that are currently under lease that this is where the potential should come from first. These are the areas where there are available right now and that we must focus on. We
cannot gamble with our beaches, our tourism and growing ecotourism industries, which are the economic livelihood of New Jersey.
A number of years ago, about 10 years ago in the Delaware Bay we had an oil
tanker that was littering. There was a malfunction with a valve. There was a relatively minor spill that was we thought contained very quickly. But this was about two weeks before Memorial Day and about a week before Memorial Day we had tar balls washing up on our beaches in Cape May County. The panic was unbelievable. This is what we rely on. Any time in the season it would be horrible. But in the beginning of the season, this drove home the importance of making sure that we protect our tourism industry, which is our livelihood.
Our tourism industry is in excess of 38 billion dollars which supports
over 500,000 jobs and is heavily dependent on the cleanliness of our beaches and ocean environment. If our beaches are not clean, we don't have a clean ocean environment, we don't have tourists. It's just that simple.
Additionally, our robust commercial and recreational fishing
industries, some of the largest in the nation and we in New Jersey and Cape May have the second largest commercial seaport on the East Coast after Massachusetts, after New Bedford, Massachusetts and this is an industry that generates huge amounts of money in terms of revenue and jobs. The potential environment and aesthetic risks posed by offshore oil and gas development especially for the relatively small amount of estimated recoverable oil and gas revenues could seriously imperil those vital contributions to the economy of New Jersey.
So, Mr. Secretary, I again thank you for your opportunity given to all of us today and I'm very proud to be joining with
my colleagues from New Jersey in a strong bipartisan effort in this area. Thank you.
SECRETARY SALAZAR: Do this in seniority in the Senate. So Congressman Holt
or Congressman Pallone, who's the more senior? I don't know.
REP. PALLONE: Thank you Mr.
SECRETARY SALAZAR: Democrat, republican, democrat, you know. We'll end up
with you, Congressman Bishop. REP. BISHOP: I'm the lowest in
seniority on the panel. SECRETARY SALAZAR: Congressman
REP. PALLONE: Thank you, Mr. Secretary. First of all, let me thank you not
only for being here, but also for the change that you bring about. I have to say that listening to you being somebody from Colorado from the west say that -- you know, make the statements you've been making about renewables and even the fact that you're here having a sort of open mind about this issue, I think is such a change from the past. I have to say that I really feel that the reason we're here at all or even discussing this issue has a lot to do with the fact that our previous President Bush was such an advocate for drilling, in my opinion, without regard to renewables and some of the other alternatives that are out there and, you know, for 20 years
now I've been in Congress and I've been working on this issue and I was very disappointed with the policies of the previous administration. You have to understand that, you know, 20 years ago when I was elected to Congress, we had in 1988 all the beach closings all off the coast of New Jersey. Senator Menendez mentioned the economic impact, that that caused billions of dollars really for our tourism industry and commercial fisheries that just went down the drain. Our beaches were closed. People didn't come here and we really feel very strongly starting then, you know, we had a moratorium in place on an annual basis through the appropriations bill every year.
I actually introduced a bill, my first bill in Congress to permanently close
the middle Atlantic Coast to any oil and gas drilling, even exploratory drilling. And all of a sudden, last year, you know, under President Bush this policy of drill, baby, drill or drill, you know, regardless, came into being. The moratorium was lifted and we were faced in the last day he was in office
with initiation of this new five-year policy that would essentially allow or lean towards drilling off the coast of the Atlantic and it's just -- it's really a shame that we came to that in the last few months of the Bush Administration. Listening to you today, this report that you put out, you know, looking at the science, paying attention to renewables, it's such a breath of fresh air and I can't stress it enough. I really want to stress the fact that you're here today and that you're spending the time looking at the science here is really important to me and to all of us from the state of New Jersey.
I also want to thank you for, you know, putting together this extended
comment period, because I think without that, the extra 120 days, we would really not have had the opportunity to really listen and see what the concerns are here in New Jersey about offshore natural gas and drilling. So essentially by doing that you have made it possible for us to now spend more time and think about this in a greater way and I want to thank you for that.
One concern that I do have, though, is that when the moratorium was in
effect, even the preliminary steps with the EIS, with the Environmental Impact Statement, were not allowed and I know now, you know, from what I heard in this report, I guess you would go ahead with an EIS and there isn't even a possibility, I guess, I'm not sure, of some kind of exploratory drilling.
We don't really want to see any of that. I wish there was some way. I guess
the cat's out of the bag now and the way the policy is it's not possible maybe to go back to the moratorium, but I would like to see a total moratorium in place. I don't even see the reason why given all the things that are out there in the wing of everything why we need to do the environmental impact statement, spend the money, why we have to do any kind of exploration. It seemed to me we should just go back to having a moratorium in place and that would mean none of this would actually take place.
But I don't know the details of that, whether that's possible at this point
and I don't want to stress it too much. What I do want to stress, though, if I could is, and it has already been mentioned is renewables. I know in your report it says something like 20 percent of the electricity needs of almost all coastal states could be met with renewables. New Jersey really is going far out of its way, I mean, the governor mentioned the renewable portfolio standing of 20 percent. I see that Jean Fox is here, the president of our Board of Public Utilities. She also has really stressed that. I want you to understand that I am supportive of wind power and I'm supportive of offshore wind power being utilized. I do think that we can move very quickly. Atlantic City's a good example. You see some of these windmills on land. I do think we can move quickly and safely towards using offshore wind power and the potential that's out there. So we're not just here saying no, don't do anything. We're here saying we do think that renewables are the way to go and that we can certainly take advantage of that tremendous potential off the coast of New Jersey.
The other thing that I wanted to mention and this came up during the debate
in Congress, there are tremendous resources out there in the Gulf of Mexico and elsewhere where you already have oil and gas fields that are already leased or that the Interior Department is allowing for drilling. And my understanding is that some of that has actually slowed in the last few years. I don't know if that's because of the recession or whatever. But why not put more of the emphasis on drilling where it's already allowed, rather be looking in new areas like the Atlantic where there really isn't that much potential. The figures that I have for the Atlantic basically say that something like -- there is in the American Petroleum Institute study, that the total economic benefits of opening up the entire Atlantic to be about 235 million dollars per year through 2030. Now, if you compare that to New Jersey tourism which is a 38 billion dollar industry and responsible for over 500,000 jobs, why would we even try to roll the dice when we already have these oil and gas fields in the
Gulf of Mexico and elsewhere that are open, why would we even try to roll the dice with so little potential in the Atlantic and such a potential threat to our beaches and our tourism industry.
The other thing is that we know that industrial pollution does come from oil
and gas drilling. I think, again, Senator Menendez mentioned that during Hurricane Katrina, we had a number of incidents where there was pollution in the Mississippi in the Gulf Mexico. We've had incidents over the years where we know that this type of drilling can actually be very detrimental to the ocean environment. And I have to tell you, I know that for tourism in particular, even the possibility of it, I mean, people don't want to swim. Even if you look in the Gulf. People don't want to swim or go on a beach where they know or they can see or they know that there's drilling activity taking place. I mean, even the possibility of it, you know, the fact that there's the possibility of a spill, even if it doesn't occur, often inhibits tourism and use of beaches.
So I guess what I'm trying to stress here today is that I do really
appreciate the fact that you are so open minded to this and are moving in the directions of renewables and understand the problems that we face. But I really would like to get to a point where we simply shut this process down in terms of any kind of drilling oil or natural gas off the Atlantic Coast, because if you weigh the potential impact -- pollution impact to our beaches and the industry which is so important versus the small amount of energy you actually capture and then think of all the potential of wind and these other renewables, there just isn't any reason, in my opinion, to continue the process of even looking at using or having oil and natural gas drilling off our coast.
So, again, appreciate your being here and you're going to hear from us a lot more I'm sure in the future as we go down
the road with this. Thank you, Mr. Secretary. SECRETARY SALAZAR: Congressman
Holt. Thank you for joining with Senator Menendez and inviting me here and it's good to
be here in Atlantic City. REP. HOLT: Thank you,
Mr. Secretary, for accepting our invitation to hold this hearing in New Jersey. New Jersey shore, as you will learn, if you don't already know, is a state and a national treasure. I must say I really appreciate your open-minded and careful four-part strategy extending the comment period, holding these public hearings, producing the report, streamlining the permitting process for renewable energy. The shore here in New Jersey is important not just to our economy as you heard, but to the very character of New Jersey. You know, we must protect that. And we should put all of this in the context of U.S. energy use and production.
Of course, there will be drilling offshore in the Gulf Mexico and
elsewhere. But sustainability is the key word. There's really no reason to open new tracts for drilling. If the activities only delay the necessary transition from fossil fuels that are ultimately unsustainable and delay the move toward sustainable sources,
there's really no good reason for opening new tracts as you've heard, if large reserves are already under lease elsewhere. And there really is no good reason for drilling offshore in New Jersey. We've identified -- you've identified in your own reports abundant clean, renewable energy sources right here. Offshore wind has a large potential. No doubt about it. It is located close to the people who are using energy all along this coast. You've seen the data this morning. As Americans find ways to use and waste less energy as we develop wind and ocean wave power and tidal and water current power, as we develop technologies to use electricity for transportation, for example, with better domestic made batteries, as we move ahead with training for green jobs and as you move ahead with improving the permitting process for new energy technologies, we will be moving to a new age.
For environmental reasons, for economic reasons, for military reasons, for a
host of domestic and international reasons, we are facing a major transition in the way we
produce and use energy. We must make that transition. We will be better off when we make that transition. And moving forward means not moving backwards. As you've heard from Governor Corzine with his bold plans for producing nonfossil sustainable energy here in New Jersey, as you heard from the other members and governors around the country, this is a transition that is beginning, but only beginning. It needs your help in the permitting process. I'm really pleased to see you taking to heart the words of President Obama when in his inaugural address he said we will restore science to its rightful place. As a scientist that does my heart good, but more important, it means that you are putting in perspective the old ways of doing things relative to the new ways that are coming on to the stage. You can help us make that transition. We must make that transition. And that means not increasing our dependence on fossil fuels.
Thank you for holding these
SECRETARY SALAZAR: Thank you,
Representative Holt. And all the way from the western part of the United States from the neighboring state of Utah, Congressman Bishop.
REP. BISHOP: Thank you, Mr. Secretary, and I'm appreciative of the
opportunity of being here and also I want to commend Mr. LaBelle and Miss Pierce for the excellent reports that were just given here.
If nothing else, I think I'm here to remind everyone that you are,
Mr. Secretary, from the state of Colorado, not Colorado, and as I drove up from Washington this morning I was wondering why a congressman from a landlocked state like Utah would be coming here to talk about OCS. But with the precedent extension of the public hearing I think I'd be remiss if I wasn't here, especially at a time because of the break when so many of my colleagues were unable to be here. So I wish to be speaking on their behalf.
You know, about a month ago I had a respiratory therapist who came into my
office, talked about one of his patients that came in there. She said her inhaler wasn't
working and she needed a stronger medicine. So I said, okay. So show me how you're using the inhaler and she did. I said, is that the way you always use it? She said, yes. I said, well, let's try it one more time except this time take the cap off. Now, this poor patient thought she was doing everything in her power and thought what she needed was tougher medication, when actually the solution was staring her in the face. All she needed to do was simply take the cap off.
Our situation is somewhat analogous in our nation's economy. Tried
stimulus packages, doses of bailouts. We have been borrowing from foreigners and our grandkids, we have had new regulations, new redistribution plan takeovers. The medicine does not necessarily seem to have worked, so we probably need some doctor simply to talk to what seemingly out of touch political class and ask one simple question, why haven't you taken the cap off? When our economy is in peril our unemployment is increasing. There seems to be no greater priority than to get revenue and jobs back in there and energy
exploration is one of those things that doesn't cost the taxpayers to do that.
We have had an energy policy for the last 40 years. To buy cheap foreign
energy, it ain't cheap anymore, both economically and politically. One of the things we need to do is rather than sending billions of dollars and thousands of jobs overseas, to simply start looking at the self-inflicted energy dependency we have, because we refused to develop our own domestic energy resources. I think there's three areas I'd like to emphasize.
First, I think we need to take the cap off OCS to increase our American
energy security. Since 1980, obviously, the demand has been twice the amount of global supply that we have. For the Air Force themselves their cost for energy has gone from three billion dollars to 13 billion dollars in a few years. And it is difficult for us to maintain our military independence when we are dependent on foreign nations for our energy supply knowing off the coast we have anywhere between 50 and 60 years of imported OPEC oil
or natural gas that we could be using. Also, talking about it doesn't
find out how much is actually there. We seriously underestimated what was in the Gulf Mexico until we actually went into the Gulf of Mexico and started finding out what was significantly there.
Secondly, we need to take the cap off the OCS to create jobs and economic
growth. We already in the petroleum industry, natural gas, 1.5 million people working. 45,000 directly related to OCS. I think it's easy to say if we could develop what is legitimately and logically possible, we could be generating two trillion dollars in new revenue and have another 750,000 that are specifically related to that particular area.
Third, I think it's important to take the cap off the OCS because it can be
done intelligently. I agree. I think some of the things we need to look at are the revenue sharing plans we have with the state, the current restricted policies prevent even willing states from developing their resources. I think I can say something for
New Jersey here that I think states should have a greater control over what takes place off their shores, but that also applies to interior states, I think need to have greater control on what happens to their land at the same time and I'm sure that MMS can talk to Mother Nature and stop the natural seepage that takes place in the oceanfront at the same time.
97 percent of our transportation comes from oil. But 90
percent -- 70 percent of the oil does not go to transportation. In every barrel of oil in all the natural gas reproduced, there is a significant component of that, which plans other parts of our daily lives. The 787 I'll take home. 50 percent of that is now composite. Most of the military plans we use are composites. Composites are natural gas. When we fertilize that's natural gas. My shoes are held together. The soles are there. If I had ties on them it would come from oil. Even aspirin is some kind of carbon. The plastics my kids play with now, that comes from petroleum products. Even ball point pens
are there. Everything from golf balls to dentures to panty hose has an implication in these policies. If we purposefully try to drive up the costs of fossil fuels for whatever purpose there may be to try to move to another course, whether we do it intentional or unintentional consequences, we harm our citizens needlessly in a whole bunch of ways that we don't even think about as we talked about transportation only as we're talking about these particular areas.
We talked specifically about the footprint that all sources of renewable
energy will take. That's a significant consideration. Now, OCS drilling is not a panacea for our problems. There is no one single silver bullet. There is no single panacea, not even conservation. What we have to use is a combination of everything we have and one of the ways for getting to where we are today is fossil fuels are going to be used in my lifetime. I'm that old. Even in Frank's lifetime and he's a lot younger. One of the things we need to do is find how to take that bridge from the future where
renewables are an increasingly significant part of our energy portfolio, but that costs money. Which is one of the reasons why it is significant that as we develop the royalties from increased fossil fuels, those go to a trust fund to be used for the development of alternative energy sources. If we don't do that, we cannot afford to cross that bridge into the future. One of the bills I sponsored does that trust fund. Last year the bills we talked about create that trust fund. I think that is essential for the movement into the future. Every day when we go on to the floor of the house there is a quotation above the speaker's roster by Webster which says "Let us develop the resources of our land and call forth its power to see whether we also in our day and our generation might not, might not perform something worthy of being remembered." I think we have capability of doing that if we look at all of the options that we have before us and realize we have to use the options that we have to get to the future. It is significant. We cannot dismiss them. We simply have to realize it's time to take the
cap off of the OCS. Thank you, Mr. Secretary. I
appreciate being here. SECRETARY SALAZAR: Thank you,
Congressman -- hello. Can you hear me? Good. I can't hear myself. Let me just say this. Thank you very much, Congressman Bishop, and thank you for those comments from Utah. I know that some of our colleagues in the Congress share that. Let me recognize a few other people who are here.
Not everybody was able to send their governor, but the state of Massachusetts and governor of Massachusetts have shown great interest and Ian Bowles who is a Secretary for
Energy and Environmental Affairs. Ian, if you'll stand up and we can recognize you. You have a couple interesting wind projects right off your shore.
Maine is represented by Beth Nagusky who is a Director of Innovation and
Assistance with the Maine Department of Environmental Quality. Thank you for being here on behalf of Maine. The State of New York, Kevin Law who's the CEO and President of
the Long Island Power Authority also with major wind projects on the horizon.
New Jersey mayors, we have Stephen Acropolis who is a mayor from Brick, New Jersey. If you will stand, Mayor, thank
you for being here. And Ron Jones, from Beachwood New Jersey, mayor of Beachwood. Ron, if you are still here, let's give him a round of applause as well.
All right. We are going to take -- it is 10:25. So we'll take about a
10-minute break. We'll come back in here at 10:35 and what I'm going to do at that point in time is I have cards and I'm going to let people speak, people who want to give the oil and gas perspective. People who want to give the environmental perspective. People who want to talk about renewable energy, whatever your points, we will try to get to as many of these comments as possible and I'll try to be fair, so if you haven't filled out your card, make sure you get it to one of our people and we'll allow you to comment. I'm going to ask everybody to keep their comments or question to three minutes or less and then between
Brenda and Bob and myself, we will attempt to at least provide some kind of response to the comments. So thank you all very much. Let's take a 10-minute break. We'll see you in 10 minutes.
(Brief recess from 10:26 a.m. until 10:44 a.m.) SECRETARY SALAZAR: We'll
continue the public portion of this meeting on the future of the Outer Continental Shelf. Let me just say for all of you who are here and want to speak, this meeting will continue until eight p.m. tonight. We will move through the rest of this program this morning till about noon and at that point there will be an hour break. I will be leaving at that point in time, but our people from the Department of Interior and MMS will continue to allow people here to comment for quite a few more hours.
Let me also say that it has been very gratifying to see the number of
comments that have come in, the questions from so many people who are here today and the comments that you're making here. These are
just the number of people who want to speak, okay? And just to show you that I am going to be very fair, I'm going to pick out a -- I'm going to shuffle just like you do here in Atlantic City, you know, just like -- whoops. We need somebody else to run this game. Oops. Well, we need a good shuffler. Anyway, I am going to call on every fifth person, okay? And so maybe what we ought to do -- I will go ahead and call about five people at a time and if you can stand up and I ask the comments to be short as well. We'll try to make -- we'll take three, four, five comments and between me and the staff we'll go ahead and answer it. So the first one is Matt Miller. Matt, if you will come to the podium. I'm going to go through one, two, three, four. The next one will be John -- oh well. I can't read the name. John O'Malley, P.O. Box 742. I can read your address, from New Jersey. John O'Malley.
JOHN O'MALLEY: Yeah.
SECRETARY SALAZAR: Come up to the front. You guys are going to line up. So
I have -- Matt, how are you?
Okay. John O'Malley.
SECRETARY SALAZAR: Okay. And we can go one, two, three, four, five. We
have Ellie Touhy from Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania. Ellie, are you here, Ellie? Ellie, are you here? All right. Well, so far we have a John -- so I'm going to go one,
two -- we'll get through these. Four, five. Okay. Jay Worfred, Skip Hobbs from New Canaan, Connecticut.
SKIP HOBBS: Yeah.
SECRETARY SALAZAR: Skip, whoever is here, stand up so we can call on you and get this started. One, two, three,
four, five. Okay. Mary Harper. Mary Harper, are you here? Please, stand. All right. Why don't we go ahead? Let's take you three and then we'll continue through. So identify yourself again. Tell me what the summary of your comment was on your card and we'll go from there.
JOHN O'MALLEY: Hi. My name is John O'Malley and I live in Marlboro, New
Jersey. And I just wanted to reiterate the thanks that the other speakers have for the
open meetings that you're having. I've lived in California and I've lived in New York and now New Jersey. When I lived in California I had occasion to surf -- I'm a life-long surfer at a beach where there were small amounts of tar, residual tar from oil spills. And I can't tell you how a small little pea-sized piece of residual tar gets all over the place and just as importantly has a really negative effect, emotional effect. It was very, you know, emotional. Sorry. I just sort of
had -- and I had one other question and that's about the people who came here today to your meeting. I was wondering, you know, I sort of broke them into four different categories, citizens for and against drilling and people who are representing -- who are paid to come or have personal interests in the issue for and against drilling and I was wondering if I could just ask for a show of hands those people who are here representing personal interest as opposed to citizens. Would you mind?
SECRETARY SALAZAR: Well, let me -- I will work that into some comments
here. I to Matt.
got your points, John, and let's go
JOHN O'MALLEY: Okay.
SKIP HOBBS: I'm not sure Matt Mr. Secretary.
SECRETARY SALAZAR: I'm sorry.
SKIP HOBBS: Mr. Secretary. My name is Skip Hobbs. I live in New Canaan,
Connecticut. I've sailed and fished the North Atlantic waters since childhood. In my community I'm recognized as a leader on conservation and environmental issues. Being green and respecting the environment is very important to me.
I am a professional petroleum geologist. During my career I've worked
offshore in the North Sea, Indonesia, North Atlantic, Persian Gulf. I'm presently the holder of two large exploration licenses in the North Atlantic offshore Sable Island, Nova Scotia. I support exploration on the Atlantic OCS. Renewed exploration and future production offshore the mid-Atlantic and the New England states will provide significant economic benefits, will help reduce foreign
oil imports and as history has demonstrated will have no significant negative environmental impacts. Frankly, I'm amazed that Americans are still debating the environmental perils of offshore oil and gas exploration and production. This is old news which every other country except the USA has successfully solved with minimal environmental impacts. The United States consumes 25 percent of the world's oil and natural gas and imports 60 percent of its oil needs, yet prohibits oil and gas exploration on most of its Continental Shelf in areas where significant potential energy resources have been identified. More than 190 miles offshore of the Canadian province of Newfoundland, on the Grand Banks in prime fishing ground, 350,000 barrels of oil a day are produced from the Hibernia, White Rose and Terra Nova oil fields. The petroleum industrial has developed 20 billion dollars in Newfoundland. This together with job creation and royalty payments has reinvigorated the Newfoundland economy. There has been no significant environmental mishap in what is often called
Iceberg Alley. In the North Atlantic 120 miles offshore Nova Scotia approximately 400 million cubic feet of natural gas are produced daily from the Sable Island gas fields. Most of this is piped to New England where it is burned as clean energy backing out coal and heating oil. Billions of dollars of economic activity have been generated by the oil industry in Nova Scotia. More than Canadian 500 million in production royalties alone will be paid to the government of Nova Scotia in 2008/2009. The Canadians have input from all stakeholders oil companies, fisheries, tourism, local industry, environmental advocates and provincial and Federal government developed regulations that promote offshore petroleum development, protect the environment and result in significant economic benefit for all citizens. U.S. law makers and the MMS should take note of the Canadian regulatory model.
Wind, solar, geothermal energy currently supply less than one percent of U.S.
primary energy demand. Alternate energy resources development should be accelerated to
reduce demand for imported hydrocarbons and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
However, we must also be realistic and recognize that as a practical
matter fossil fuels will rule for another generation. The same geological formations that are productive offshore Eastern Canada extend south along the U.S. Continental Shelf margin. Drilling offshore Atlantic City will be more than 100 miles out to sea. You are not going to see any drilling infrastructure from the beaches of Atlantic City. We cannot ignore potential domestic hydrocarbon resources identified by the U.S. Geological Survey and the MMS on the Atlantic OCS. The United States cannot drill itself to energy self-sufficiency, but the potential incremental barrel of supply from the North Atlantic OCS will have important economic and strategic consequences. We won't know what's truly there until we drill. Prudhoe Bay was discovered by the 31st well on the North Slope preceded by dry holes. The largest oil field discovered in America.
SECRETARY SALAZAR: So if I
may, Skip --
SKIP HOBBS: I will finish.
SECRETARY SALAZAR: I get your point. Your point is we got to find out
what's there. You think that fossil fuels are still a very major part of our portfolio going into the future.
SKIP HOBBS: And there's been no environmental impact with all of their
SECRETARY SALAZAR: Thank you,
MARY: Thank you, Mr. Secretary. I hope that I can get up into
the mike. I don't know how to do this. I'm here to represent myself as a native born Atlantic County resident and as a New Jersey certified environmental steward. And my representatives Governor Corzine and Senator Menendez and Representative LoBiondo did an amazing job of speaking for me which is their job and so I have only a few comments, because they haven't spent their whole lives here and may not have known.
When the chart of the East
Coast went up and it showed that there are a thousand people per square mile on the East Coast of the United States, the northeast coast, New Jersey's population density is 2,600 people per square mile. New Jersey is the most densely populated state and so we probably have more people to be impacted by whatever decisions are made.
70 miles of the coast of South Jersey are Federal wildlife refuge, National
wildlife refuge is 70 miles of this coast and 40 percent of that is a Federal wilderness area that excludes the barrier islands. It's the main -- we call it the mainland. I was born two blocks from here, and I've lived here most of my life. And I don't want people to get the sense that we're NIMBYs here in New Jersey, because we're not. We have contributed a lot and we have also put up with a lot. And one of the things that I'd like to -- there's two things that I'd like to mention. One is that from the late 1950s until 1970 Operation Chase which stands for Cut a Hole and Sink 'Em operated out of Naval Weapons Station Earl on Sandy Hook Bay which
is maybe about 70, 80 miles north of here. What that did was took defunct naval vessels, filled them with ammunition, unexploded ordinance and chemical weapons and sunk them off of our coast. They're all still out there. One of them was the SS Corporal Eric Gibson which was scuttled right off Atlantic City on June 15th, 1967. It was filled with about 7,387 rockets containing VX nerve agent.
SECRETARY SALAZAR: Mary, let me ask you a question. I understand your
point of view would be, I take it, what Governor Corzine's point of view is in terms of drilling in the offshore of New Jersey. Would it matter to you if there was seismic exploration to understand what is out there so at least we know what is there or would that not be something that you would be supportive of?
MARY: There may be scientists who know how the seismic exploration could
effect any of this stuff down there. There's also dumping area just southeast of Atlantic City. It lies between Atlantic City and Ocean City where DuPont Chemical has been dumping
toxic chemicals for three decades now. They're permitted to do that.
SECRETARY SALAZAR: Let me ask you one more question. What if the offshore
drilling were to be permitted 100 miles off the coast of New Jersey? Would that matter to you in terms of your position?
MARY: It would matter to me in terms of the possible impact to the coast or
wilderness areas and our wetlands. SECRETARY SALAZAR: I
appreciate your comments very much and because I want to hear from some of the other people I'm going to move on and we'll take your comments and they will become part of our record in this process. Thank you very much. Thank you for being here. Yes.
MATT MILLER: Thank you, Mr. Secretary, for having me today. I'm Matt
Miller and I'm here on behalf of the Consumer Energy Alliance. And with your permission, sir, I'd like to read into the record a letter from Senator Frank W. Wagner, state senator from the Commonwealth of Virginia.
SECRETARY SALAZAR: Let me ask
you this, Matt. I'd rather you just summarize it. Tell me what it is that he has to say.
MATT MILLER: Certainly, sir.
SECRETARY SALAZAR: We'll take the letter and we'll take all your comments,
all these comments and they'll all be part of
the record as we move forward, but give summation of what it is his point is or point is.
MATT MILLER: Certainly, Thank you, very much. The State Senate
me the your
represents 188,000 constituents and this issue has been looked at very closely in the state. And in this district and over 70 percent of the people that he represents supports offshore development of the hydrocarbon resources.
SECRETARY SALAZAR: What was that number again?
MATT MILLER: 188,000, sir. The city is a coastal community relying
heavily on tourism for a significant part of the economy. Because the Department of Interior's included Virginia in their current
five-year plan much media attention has been focused on this topic, as you can imagine. The public has been well-educated on the facts and figures and the environmental and safety records of offshore platforms, despite the best efforts of a very vocal radical minority, and of those in the environmental community. Various sport fishing groups have come out in full support of the development because they recognize that platforms become significant marine habitat creating fishing opportunities that would not otherwise exist as they currently do in the Gulf Mexico. This is why the practice of taking older platforms no longer in use and sinking them on their sites is commonplace in order to retain the habitat for the tens of thousands of fishes that have located there. In these particular very difficult economic times, the State Senate would hope that the U.S. Department of Interior would focus on the potential huge positive impact on this economy. As well as the opportunity to develop --
SECRETARY SALAZAR: Okay. So, Matt, what I would take from your comments is
the state senator on whose behalf you are speaking would be an advocate of continuing to keep the Virginia portion in the current lease area opened up for exploration and I will comment only that the governor of Virginia recently sent me a letter stating the exact opposite point of view. And so what you are expressing is -- I think what's important about this discussion is that we see that there are different points of view with respect to this issue and even with respect to Virginia and this particular lease area, there is obviously, very different points of view on how to move forward with them. Thank you very much, Matt.
MATT MILLER: Certainly, and, Mr. Secretary, with your permission I'd like
to submit for the record a letter from several senators in support of the project.
SECRETARY SALAZAR: Absolutely. We will include everything you want to put
into the record. MATT MILLER: Thank you,
SECRETARY SALAZAR: We're very
open to that.
ELLIE TUOHY: My name is Ellie Tuohy. I got up at 4:00 this morning to drive here from Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania. I'm concerned about the environment. But I'm more
concerned about human beings and about our security. We need to figure out how to effectively develop American oil and natural gas. We can no longer ignore the fact that we let other countries dictate our energy consumption. Thank you.
SECRETARY SALAZAR: Ellie, hold on. Unlike most people, you didn't speak long
enough. Let me -- Ellie, where are you from? ELLIE TUOHY: Plymouth Meeting,
SECRETARY SALAZAR: Don't go
away from the microphone. And you got 4:00 this morning?
ELLIE TUOHY: 4:00, and to a Phillies game last night.
SECRETARY SALAZAR: And point of view is that --
ELLIE TUOHY: National security. That's what it's all about.
SECRETARY SALAZAR: So that the OCS, from your point of view, on the Atlantic
should be opened up? ELLIE TUOHY: After swimming in
the Atlantic Ocean on the Jersey shore, my family's always had a summer home. That water's been dirty as long as I can remember. I have never been able to see my feet in that water since I was a baby. The first time I ever saw blue water was when I went to Hawaii. People in New Jersey are used to dirty water.
SECRETARY SALAZAR: Thank you, Ellie, for coming all the way from
Pennsylvania and sharing your point of view here in New Jersey. You see why these are tough issues. If they weren't tough issues, we wouldn't be having this conversation. This is all very good.
Let me just make a couple of comments with respect to these comments that
have been made. First of all, I think it was John who asked the question about who is here from the public as citizens and who is here representing somebody, I guess another way of putting this. Let me ask just a couple
questions and see what the audience looks like. First of all, how many of you are here from New Jersey? How many of you are associated with, represent an environmental organization?
How many of you are here representing or affiliated with, work for the
oil and gas industry? Okay. How many of you are here
representing local government, state government?
So it's a good cross-section. By the way, I am going to call on New York and the other representatives. I was given a note
that I was supposed to have called on you earlier, but I didn't. I want to go through a few more public comments before we call on you, if that's okay with all of you.
We'll keep going through this. The next one is Daniel Cohen. Daniel Cohen.
Are you here, Daniel? If you're not here then I'm -- okay. Daniel's not here.
UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: He's
SECRETARY SALAZAR: Oh, he's
around? So Daniel Cohen. Daniel Cohen. One, two, three, four, five. Mark Rogers. Mark Rogers? Mark Rogers? I think, is somebody who says he's here with Cape Wind. One, two, three, four, John Weber. John Weber. John Weber, if you'll come up here. All right. Get one more. One, two, three, four, five. Eileen Levendowsky. Eileen Levendowsky. We'll take those four comments and then we'll take some more. All right. Who's first up?
MARK RODGERS: Well, I don't see Dan Cohen yet. My name is Mark Rogers.
I'm communications director of Cape Wind. Good morning, Secretary Salazar.
SECRETARY SALAZAR: Mark, how
MARK RODGERS: Cape Wind, as you know, is America's first offshore wind
farm proposal that would locate 130 wind turbines on Horseshoe Shoal in Nantucket Sound that in average winds would provide the island of Cape Cod and Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket with 75 percent of their energy needs. MMS issued a draft and final environmental impact statement. Meanwhile,
the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management has issued us to consistency determinations. Just last month the Massachusetts Energy Facility Citing Board voted unanimously to grant Cape Wind a composite certificate that effectively completes Cape Wind's state and local permitting. These reports at the Federal and state level shows show that Cape Wind would serve the public interest by creating jobs, reducing pollution emissions, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing our energy independence. And we're proud that over the course of these seven years Cape Wind has helped the United States evolve a regulatory framework from your department for offshore wind power and that our nation is finally poised to harness this important resource. Cape Wind is shovel ready.
According to two independent public opinion polls, Cape Wind has the
support of 86 percent of the Massachusetts public and we're proud that Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick supports Cape Wind as a centerpiece of his vision to make
Massachusetts a world leader in offshore wind and today, Secretary Salazar, I have a major announcement from the Massachusetts legislature.
I'm holding in my hand a letter addressed to you and signed by 78 members of
the House and Senate, democrats and republicans. It was authored by House Chairman Frank Smizik and Senate Chairman Mark Pacheco each of the Committee on Global Warming and Climate Change and I'll read the first sentence of this letter signed by 78 members of the Massachusetts legislature. Just to end by reading just the quote, we the undersigned want to voice our support in the Cape Wind project and respectfully request that the Minerals Management Service of the U.S. Department of Interior issue a favorable record of decision and lease to Cape Wind as soon as possible, unquote. Thank you, very much.
SECRETARY SALAZAR: Thank you, Mark. Let me ask you one question. How many
members are there in the Massachusetts legislature? 100 or --
MARK RODGERS: Combined House and Senate I believe is 200.
SECRETARY SALAZAR: About 200, okay. I just wanted to ask that question.
Thank you, very much, Mark, and we're still in the process on Cape Wind and so we will have decisions I think coming out soon. But we will obviously move forward with the process within the legal structure that we have set forth. Thank you.
Who is next?
JOHN WEBER: I'm John Weber with the Surfrider Foundation.
SECRETARY SALAZAR: John Weber.
JOHN WEBER: We are against offshore oil and gas exploration. I want to first thank MMS for being here and thank you
for service to your country, and I mean this, because I know you are going to endure hundreds of people coming up here and essentially all saying the same thing and by the time you get to San Francisco, thousands, and I mean thousands of people are all going to come up here and say the same thing and
that's a challenge for somebody like myself to not say the same thing and I also want to say, Mr. Secretary, personally, this is so wonderful that you're standing here and I'm speaking to you and you're asking questions and taking questions and I just think that's fantastic.
So on to it. I suppose people who work for you are doing it. So I think
it's wonderful. The timing of this I have to comment on, though, as good as this turnout seems, we really had three weeks on knowing the date and time and place of this hearing and I find that inadequate. Maybe it's a strategy on the part of MMS and energy conservation strategy saying let's give them three weeks' notice. Not that many people will come and we won't spend as much gasoline driving up and down the parkway. I invite you to come back in July to Atlantic City, there will be thousands and thousands and thousands of people at a hearing like this in July. So if you want to consider that, that would be great.
In an effort to say something
that hasn't been said before, the Surfrider Foundation put a petition on Facebook. Once we knew who the new President was, it got started in early December. Ran for about 45 days till inauguration day. It has 21,000 names on it. I'm giving it to you. Do you want to know what 21,000 names look like? It's 643 pages. This is our not-the-answer petition. We think offshore oil drilling and gas exploration isn't the answer. You all know what the answers are. Not going to belabor that point. Not that Facebook is some heavyweight of, you know, political policy or anything like that. It's mostly young people, okay? And it's only available to people on Facebook and in 45 days that's a lot of people. By contrast, there are Facebook causes in favor of offshore oil drilling. This one's got four people. And this one has five people. Again, not a heavyweight of policy, just saying.
SECRETARY SALAZAR: John, let me just ask you a question. So I take it that
your organization, the foundation and 21,000 names would be opposed to offshore oil and gas
drilling. Do we have the same position with respect to offshore wind development?
JOHN WEBER: We want to see ocean renewables done right. I'm thrilled at
the opportunity to have wind energy off the New Jersey coast. We want to make sure it's done right. From what I can tell, now that MMS and FERC have, you know, figured out some of the turf battles through wind and wave and whatnot. We feel we're moving in the right direction and that's fantastic. We support renewables done right.
I want to say one other thing with respect to oil and gas. For members of
the Surfrider Foundation like myself and a lot of other people that you are going to hear from, this is personal. It's personal in the sense that on Saturday I spent four hours in the Atlantic Ocean. I'd like a show of hands how many people have been in the Atlantic Ocean in the last, you know, 48 hours. Okay. Those are surfers, okay? We're not talking about looking at it from the boardwalk and I'm not talking about floating on top of it on a boat. I mean in it. Emersed in it for four
Thank you very petition to?
SECRETARY SALAZAR: Appreciate
JOHN WEBER: It's personal. much. Who do I give the
SECRETARY SALAZAR: Right up here. All right. Virginia Beach, Virginia.
EILEEN: I'm the Hampton Roads coordinator with the Sierra Club and I live in
Virginia Beach. As you pointed out, Governor Kaine in his letter to you, has called for the temporary postponement of Virginia lease sale 220. To quote him, this lease sale is the only one currently proposed anywhere along the Atlantic seaboard. He writes, I believe no lease sale should be inducted in the Atlantic until the process you have outlined in the five-year program 2010/2015 is complete. Including Virginia in the same process used to study all other Atlantic offshore drilling and to incorporate information about other offshore areas of Virginia makes sense. Certainly MMS doesn't have enough information and studies to safely conduct any other lease
sale in our region, they certainly do not have enough information to conduct the first lease sale, Virginia lease sale 220, which goes on the auction block as early as 2011.
As an example of all the states along the eastern seaboard, opposition to
offshore drilling remains strongest in New Jersey with its vital coastal dependent tourism industry, yet at a December 2008 MMS workshop in Williamsburg, Virginia discussing lease sale 220 off of Virginia, when addressing concerns for the industrial development of Virginia's coast expected to be necessary to handle raw products that may come into the shore from drilling platforms, a Shell Oil executive indicated that energy companies might, quote, instead build underwater pipelines to refineries in New Jersey bypassing the Virginia coast all together. As it is right now, such pipelines in New Jersey refineries lie outside the scope of study for MMS as specific to Virginia's early lease sale 220.
Not only does it make sense to study Virginia as a whole and study the Atlantic Coast as a whole, it also makes sense to consider planning for all offshore coastal resources to include wind and wave power as you suggested. According to the Virginia Coastal Energy Research Consortium, a consortium of universities chartered by Virginia's General Assembly, Virginia is one of the prime states for locating new offshore wind capacity. Their research suggests that a wind farm using available technologies that covers an area equal to that of Virginia Beach could satisfy 20 percent of the electricity demand of the Commonwealth. Also unique to Virginia's offshore wind development is its location near coastal metropolitan load centers thus benefitting other states in the comprehensive development approach. Serious environmental and National security concerns have been raised about Virginia offshore drilling since its questionable enrollment in the 2007/2012 program. Not only does the environmental impact statement need to take into full account the reliance of Virginia on its economy on the coast, it must be measured with regard to offshore energy development for
the entire Atlantic Coast. Postponing lease sale 220 is
the most environmentally sound and economically responsible course.
SECRETARY SALAZAR: Let me ask you a question. So I would take it that from
your point of view, Eileen, and you were referencing the governor's letter extensively. That for Virginia you would be a strong proponent of moving forward with the development of wind energy off the coast of Virginia?
SECRETARY SALAZAR: And second of all, with respect to lease sale 220 which
is currently part of the five-year plan. You would also agree with the governor that that lease sale ought to be postponed, but you --
SECRETARY SALAZAR: You also said something else in your comment, and that
is you think we need to develop additional information on the Atlantic.
EILEEN: Right. SECRETARY SALAZAR: Would from
your point of view, Eileen, that include doing additional seismic information so that we have a better scientific understanding of what's there?
EILEEN: Right. Is it 30 years since we've done any development? There's so
many unknowns and there are just as many unknowns for Virginia as there is for the entire Atlantic Coast. We're no better off even though we're a couple years ahead on the MMS process. There's not any more information. You can't say that there's all these unknowns in other areas.
SECRETARY SALAZAR: Let me ask a question. You heard the report earlier from
USGS and MMS. Ask everybody here in the room to raise their hand. The fact is that the information that we have on the Atlantic is probably 25 years old in terms of the seismic information. There's some who want us to go and develop additional information on the Atlantic on seismic. There are others opposed. How many of you would support us going out and developing additional seismic information off the Atlantic Coast? How many
of you would support it? How many of you would oppose
Okay. I appreciate the comment from Virginia and from you, Eileen, thank you
very much. Next. DANIEL COHEN: Thank you.
Daniel Cohen. I'm sorry. I was in the hall when you called my name and I also have written versions of this to give to you and your staff. My name is Daniel Cohen. I'm the second generation of my family in the fishing business of New Jersey. We operate 20 vessels with shoreside facilities in New Jersey, Rhode Island and Massachusetts. I'm also the President of a company formed by fishermen called Fishermen's Energy, formed specifically to develop offshore energy resources. Our fishermen investors operate over 100 vessels on the East Coast with facilities in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Maryland and Virginia. I would like to thank the Secretary Salazar, Governor Corzine who left, obviously, and other officials such as Commissioner Fox for this
meeting today and for attending this meeting. Offshore wind presents the
potential of one billion dollars of capital invested in New Jersey yearly and for a significant investment additionally on the East Coast. Fishermen's Energy actually was formed by leadership of East Coast Fishing Industries to be an agent for change. Although the fishing industry has historically been opposed to any competing use of the water column and its resultant negative impact on commercial fishermen, we concluded after significant introspection and analysis that our society needs change. We've already seen the first impact of global climate change in the heat-related die-off of surf clams as documented in our cooperative fisheries research with Rutgers University. And the change in range of migratory patterns of Atlantic fin fish for which we fish. Fishermen's Energy recognizes the impact of human activity on our environment. Human use of fossil fuels, production of CO2 and greenhouse gases, acidification of our oceans. Our dependence on foreign fuel suppliers all
work against the status quo and force the public and ourselves, the fishing industry, to seek for new solutions.
Fishermen's livelihood is dependent on a healthy vibrant and sustainable
managed environment. The oceans must be developed for alternative uses. We believe there are none more qualified or more invested in a design limitation and operation of these uniquely ocean structures. But we cannot build, in fact, no one can build an offshore wind farm without the complete support of the community, including the societal support of New Jersey and a nation as a whole. As a society, we can stick our heads in the sand and continue escalating our usage of fossil fuels or we can begin to make changes that will have incremental costs today, but can slowly turn the ship of our energy states toward common waters. To do so we must begin to build new industry today.
SECRETARY SALAZAR: Would it be fair to say your point to me as Secretary of
Interior is we got to move forward with a wind energy program in the Atlantic and, two, you
are opposed with respect to oil and gas drilling in the Atlantic?
DANIEL COHEN: I'll speak more quickly and extemporaneously. I would say
yes, we are looking for you to move forward with your rules, but there are a few things you should think about.
Number one, companies like ourselves which are today planning to build a
meteorological tower 10 miles off of New Jersey. We have been making significant investments for the last few years and your current rules are not clear how that will relate to initiative by states. Our state governor, as you heard, is taking initiative to develop a competitive process and develop his ocean in an orderly fashion. Will MMS rules coordinate with existing state programs and state initiatives in an organized manner or will they be disenfranchised? We're making significant investment and yet your rules are not clear that once we build this meteorological tower that we will be able to proceed with construction and for us it's a significant investment. That must be
connected and it would be clear, again, you heard Governor Carcieri talk about Rhode Island. I'm sure that we would like to see his development done in an orderly fashion, so it's important the final rules recognize the investment that's been made by the states and the states' stakeholders in those developments.
The second thing is this issue of -- may be too late to talk about right now, but FERC and MMS and MOU must be a development
between FERC and MMS and for sure, I would speak that I'm not sure what the bottom line of the MOU is, but it should be clear that there is one permitting agency to go to and it's also in an early fashion, so that we do not have things as we perceived have happened recently look like real estate development.
SECRETARY SALAZAR: I have your
DANIEL COHEN: Okay.
SECRETARY SALAZAR: I have your points, both in your letter as well as in your
summary there and I appreciate you and Mark and John and Eileen, all of you who spoke in
that round. I'm going to ask the representatives from the governors' offices and several other states who traveled here a long time to be here and I'll call first on Ian Bowles, Secretary for Energy and Environmental Affairs for the state of Massachusetts. Ian.
IAN BOWLES: Thank you very much, Mr. Secretary. I want to echo the
thanks for your personal engagement in this topic and for your enthusiasm for offshore wind. You have done in the space of a few months a great deal to focus the nation on this topic.
We're two decades behind Europe. If you think about the 1,500
megawatts of wind power that they've already
deployed and the very large coming in Europe. So thank personal efforts very much.
pipeline that's you for your
The topic of Shelf development traditionally in
Massachusetts is focused on Georges Bank, which is a tremendously important fisheries for us. As is mentioned before, New Bedford
is the nation's number one port in terms of economic value of landings. So we believe 30 years ago energy development was looked at in Georges Bank and approved to be a bad idea then. See no reason to believe that it's not still a bad idea today. We think the opportunity and indeed the renewable energy mother lode for our region is in offshore wind. We're behind Europe and we think we need to accelerate and we think Federal, state cooperation is vitally important.
In our state we're doing a comprehensive session management process that
will result in special sensitive areas that need additional protection for habitat, but also renewable energy development zones in our state waters that will be able to put out for lease and participation in our process from the Federal agencies as vital as some of these areas may straddle state and Federal waters.
Last point I want to make quickly, Mr. Secretary, is building on
Governor Carcieri's point about transmission. The debate about transmission appears to us to be largely driven by western states who have
remote renewables that they want to deliver into load centers. For us sitting on the Atlantic seaboard that is a distraction. For us we have a resource off our coast that is superior in terms of capacity factor. It blows more strongly and more frequently off our coast, and we have proximity. It's not very far away. So for us the issue is not transmission and we think one size fits all Federal policy on transmission will leave our region behind and, indeed, will leave offshore wind behind. Instead we'd rather see more regional approaches. What we have in New England is a very well functioning renewable portfolio. Results in a huge amount of renewable development. We'd like to see those things strengthened and not replaced and we think FERC and MMS should be coming together to look at the range of engineering and interconnection studies that are needed
real spine of offshore wind development can serve all our state interests.
So I thank you again for personal attention to this very much. On
behalf of Governor Patrick, I'm glad to be
for a that
SECRETARY SALAZAR: Thank you very much, Ian, and thank you for your service
in Massachusetts on this issue as well. I call on the great state of
Maine. Beth Nagusky, Director of Innovation and Assistance, Maine Department of Environmental Protection.
BETH NAGUSKY: Thank you, Secretary Salazar. On behalf of Governor
Baldacci I want to thank you for coming to Atlantic City and hosting this. I'm cochairing the Governor's Ocean Energy Task Force and we are looking at the great potential in the Gulf of Maine for not just near shore wind, but also the deep, deep water I call it. Which are the new technology floating platforms that have not yet been proven. Maine has set an ambitious goal of 3,000 megawatts of wind by 2020, of which we want to get at least 300 from offshore. Our University of Maine has been working en route to better identify the wind profile in the Gulf of Maine. And help site this, as well as working on composites for new blades and new
technologies and we'd like to create a research park in the Gulf of Maine where we can test these new floating platforms, because the biggest winds are really where the waters are deepest in the Gulf of Maine. As you probably know, the Gulf of Maine may contain about 10 percent of all offshore wind in the United States. Maine has set very ambitious goals, as I just said.
We have streamlined our permitting process for onshore wind. We have
recently just developed a streamlined permitting process for this research and testing of these deeper water projects as well as tidal power. We had last December a first prototype of a tidal in stream device tested off the East Coast.
I just want to leave you with a few things. I know there are a lot of people here who would like to speak and I don't want
to hold you up. But what we are looking at in Maine is not just using this power, this clean power to power our electric grid to keep the lights on. But Maine -- 80 percent of Maine's homes are heated with oil. 90 percent of a
Maine homeowners' energy bill, annual energy bill is transportation and home heating. Electricity counts for only 10 percent. We need more dollars deployed to research development and deployment of these new and emerging technologies not only for electricity and more efficient electricity, but cold climate heat pumps, thermal energy storage devices, electric cars so that we can truly reduce our dependence on oil in this country by electrifying those sectors as well and using clean electricity to power them.
The other point that I don't believe has been made is that we would like to
explore more equitable revenue-sharing protocols so that states who are citing these projects where the transmission lines will be going through state waters get a greater share of revenues, because of the benefits that are being provided, and also I want to reiterate the point about citing generation near load. We believe that Boston, Portland, New York City, Atlantic City should be powered with offshore energy from closer to load as opposed to expensive expansive transmission lines that
would cross the country. So with that, I'd like to end
and just thank you again for coming. Governor Baldacci has made this a high priority and we're very happy to be here. Thank you.
SECRETARY SALAZAR: Thank you, very much. Appreciate your comments. From
the state of New York, Kevin Law, CEO and President of Long Island Power Authority.
KEVIN LAW: Thank you, Mr. Secretary. Happy to be here today. My name is Kevin S. Law. I'm the President of
the Long Island Power Authority, also known as LIPA. We're the second largest public utility in the country with over one million customers. I'm also here representing Governor David A. Paterson and I serve on his Renewable Energy Task Force.
Earlier this year Governor Paterson launched his 45-by-15 program. That
is to get 30 percent of our state's energy through renewable energy and 15 percent reduction in demand for the electricity we're now using, so you add 30 of renewable with the 15 percent reduction and demand, that's how
you get the 45 and the goal is by 2015. This is the 45-by-15 program. Last year Governor Paterson brought together all the Northeast and mid-Atlantic governors and he formed an organization NEMAG, N-E-M-A-G, and it's bringing them all together to address the point you made earlier that we do need to be looking at these things regionally and nationally and it's not going to be good if each state is doing their own thing. So Governor Corzine is going to host the meeting this year in September. So we're excited about participating with our neighbors as we all address the energy challenges before us.
There's one thing I want to just leave with you on a more localized level. We're excited about a offshore wind initiative
that we proposed earlier this year. It could be the largest offshore wind project in the country. It is a joint initiative between LIPA and Consolidated Edison, a public utility and a private utility. Could be as much as 700 megawatts. We're looking to do it 13 miles off the coast of the Rockaways in Queens and we're looking to essentially share the
cost and share the power. And because everybody thinks the wind is cheap, it's actually pretty expensive to get these projects off the ground and we're looking to send some power to Long Island and west to New York City. We're excited about it. We just did our first phase of a study which shows our system could actually handle the increased energy with some improvements to our infrastructure and we're going through another stage of due diligence at this point and we look forward to getting this project off the ground and getting the support of your office and your department to help us what could be again the largest offshore wind project in the country.
So we're excited and thank you very much for having us here today.
SECRETARY SALAZAR: Let me ask you one question. 45-by-15. 30 percent of it
coming from renewables. 15 percent coming from efficiency or some of the Washington speak would be you have 45 percent and you have 15 percent carved out for efficiency. You are running the largest public utility for
New York. Is that a realistic goal? Is it doable?
KEVIN LAW: On the efficiency, yes. You know, we think the efficiency
reducing the demand by 15 percent is doable. It's a little aspirational, but it is doable. Commitment is there on the Governor's part and on the utility's part.
On the renewable portion, most of the renewable in New York is hydropower.
And now we have a lot of wind upstate and now we need to bring just to the point these two speakers before we mentioned, the population center is on Long Island and New York City. And we need to compare, do we try to bring that renewable energy from Canada or Upstate New York down to the load or is it more efficient to put it into the ocean and only have a transmission line a short distance and not traversing the Catskills and the Adirondacks. So the challenges are great. We think it is doable. Perhaps a little aspirational, but we do think it's achievable.
SECRETARY SALAZAR: Thank you very much, Kevin.
KEVIN LAW: Thank you.
SECRETARY SALAZAR: Let me ask -- give him a round of applause. He came
all the way from New York. Do we have other representatives from governors' offices along the Atlantic that have not spoken? Please, come up and introduce yourself.
DAVID SPEARS: I'm David Spears. I'm policy manager for the Virginia Department of Mines and Minerals and Energy,
but I'm here representing the people of Virginia, the Commonwealth of Virginia and the Governor's office and the Commonwealth of Virginia. You've mentioned that you received a letter from our Governor asking that the lease sale 220 be postponed and the governor definitely still stands behind that point of view.
We're also very interested in offshore renewables, especially wind. The
state policy on oil and gas was set in 2006 by statute, so it was after debate of the entire general assembly and then signed by Governor Kaine and our state policy emphasizes natural gas only and exploration only at this point
and we appreciate the MMS giving us the 50-mile buffer that we asked for, but at this time we would prefer not to be singled out for a lease sale. The governor stated from the beginning that he would like the entire Atlantic to be treated in the same way at once treating all the states equally. Thank you.
SECRETARY SALAZAR: Thank you very much for being here on behalf of Governor
Kaine. Let me ask -- I don't know if I'll go through all the states. Up north. We've heard from Maine. Give me a quick -- heard from Maine. Coming down the coast. What's next? New Hampshire, where's New Hampshire? Nobody cares about the OCS in New Hampshire? Come down the coast. Help me, Ken. Department of the Americas, so what's down -- Massachusetts. We heard from Massachusetts. Connecticut we've heard from. Rhode Island we've heard from. New York we have heard from. New Jersey we've heard from. We've heard from New Jersey. We've heard from New Jersey. Maryland. Maryland. We have not heard from Maryland. Are you from Maryland?
JACKIE SAVITZ: Yes.
SECRETARY SALAZAR: Why don't you come up here? We want all the states, all
the Atlantic, so, Maryland, come up here and tell us who you are and your point of view from Maryland. I'm going to talk to Governor O'Malley and Senator Cardin and Senator Mikulski and say, where were you? We had a representative from Maryland here.
JACKIE SAVITZ: Governor O'Malley's doing a great job. We're happy to
have him. But I do not represent him. I'm Jackie Savitz. I represent a conservation organization called Oceana. I do live in Maryland.
SECRETARY SALAZAR: What's the name of the organization?
JACKIE SAVITZ: Oceana. It's an international ocean conservation
organization. Actually, Secretary Salazar, Oceana came today to urge you to reinstate the moratoria that were previously in place on the coast similarly to what Congressman Pallone asked and also to stop ongoing activities in the Arctic because of its, you know, extreme vulnerability and uniqueness. We think there
are a lot of good reasons for doing that. The first is the harm, obviously. Oil which you've heard a lot about today. I'm not going to go into it in detail, but I would like to submit to the record this report that Oceana put together called Toxic Legacy and it talks about the harm from oil. In addition to the harm from oil which we think was a good enough reason to have moratoria on the Atlantic Coast and the other coast for the past 25 odd years, through republican and democratic administrations and republican and democratic congresses and we think that reason is still good enough today, but today we can also add the issue of climate change which, as you know, is being driven by our fossil fuel use and it's sort of -- we see it as sort of the final straw and the reason that we should be not lifting the moratoria -- well, let's say we should be reinstating the moratoria that were in place in the past. We're not saying that there shouldn't be energy development, fossil fuel development offshore.
In fact, Chairman Rahall in the Natural Resources Committee meeting pointed
out that 82 percent of the oil on the OCS and 84 percent of the natural gas is available, was available with the moratoria and would continue to be available in the future. You've also heard statistics from the Energy Information Agency that developing the OCS would provide only one percent of our daily consumption and that's only during peak
production and time.
only for a short period of
On the other hand, the tourism heard about today continue in so developing the OCS is not our price at the pump. It's
figures you've perpetuity and going to lower not going to get us energy independence no matter how much we would like it to.
The bills that are being introduced by Congressman Pallone, Senator
Menendez and Lautenberg to essentially reinstate the moratoria, but to do it a slightly different way. On the Atlantic there's a similar one in California. There's a similar one from the delegation in New England from some of the members in the New England delegation.
Mr. Secretary, we don't think a piecemeal approach to this is really the way to go and with your leadership we think that
these moratoria could be reinstated, you know, with one broad stroke without necessarily stopping all production on the coast.
I also want to give you -- there is some support as you've heard from
Congress and the Senate -- SECRETARY SALAZAR: Let me ask
you a couple questions. You heard the information presented by MMS, USGS with respect to places where we already drill. Gulf of Mexico, central, the east, the west. Does your organization support those activities in the Gulf of Mexico?
JACKIE SAVITZ: Well, we don't necessarily have a position on the Gulf
Mexico, but since you brought it up, we're very concerned about the ongoing activities in the Arctic.
SECRETARY SALAZAR: No, no, no, no, I'm going to narrow you down to my
question here. So the Gulf of Mexico is an area that produces over a quarter of the oil
in the nation, a huge percentage of our natural gas. There's extensive exploration and development going on. We know more about the Gulf of Mexico than any other place in the OCS. There's a question about opening up new areas in the Gulf of Mexico. Are you supportive of that?
JACKIE SAVITZ: No, we're not supportive of opening up new areas. The parts
that were originally covered by the moratorium --
SECRETARY SALAZAR: Let me ask another question. So then one of the
findings -- just sciences, okay? It's good for everybody in terms of the science. We need to know what the facts are. Make things based on the best of knowledge that we have. Our information on the Atlantic is 25 years old. We don't have any current technology because we haven't done any scientific assessment of what's out there. Does your organization oppose even doing an assessment of what the potential is out there on the Atlantic without getting to the policy decision as to whether or not it's even
JACKIE SAVITZ: You know, we don't necessarily have a position on seismic
studies, but I think it's a fair point that if you look at what our position is which is we shouldn't be developing oil and gas on the coast, it would be a waste of money to do seismic studies or any further exploration. Based on what we know now, we know that the amount that's out there, we have a ballpark idea of what's out there. We don't think it's -- we think it's diminishing returns to go in that direction.
SECRETARY SALAZAR: I appreciate it and I will take every one of
your publications and your comments. JACKIE SAVITZ: Thank you.
SECRETARY SALAZAR: And make it a part of the record.
JACKIE SAVITZ: And a petition from scuba divers as well.
SECRETARY SALAZAR: Thank you, Jackie. Let me go -- I want to go through the other states. Delaware. I keep getting calls from the Governor, anybody here from Delaware?
They seem to have a big wind project. Say they have enough energy there to meet all the needs of Washington, D.C. and New York. But they're not here. So Delaware. How about -- we've heard from Virginia. How about North Carolina? North Carolina doesn't care about OCS? We have one person from North Carolina. Come on up. So North Carolina. How about South Carolina? Anybody from South Carolina here? No South Carolina. We're going to develop these rules that might leave South Carolina out, you know. How about Georgia? Florida? Okay. Go ahead.
MATT WALKER: My name's Matt Walker, I'm a resident of Kill Devil Hills on
the Outer Banks of North Carolina. There's been a lot of talk about job creation here. I want to talk about job destruction real quick. Where I live there really is no economic engine but a clean beach. That's all we have. Every single dollar goes back to people wanting to come down and visit the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The total state's 12 million dollars annually. So two years that's roughly twice what the revenue sharing's
offering after three or four decades, so it's a continuous renewable energy. It's renewable income every year unless something happens and once filled that's a whole lot of jobs.
Friend of mine who has three jobs. One, he's a maintenance guy for a
rental company. He's also a commercial fisherman in the winter and he also just opened a small inn. Now, one oil spill he's got no job. They just disappeared. Also has four kids. Start talking about economic concerns and job creation, that's a big one. And I don't think you can look at as far as creating an opportunity to go work for another major corporation being the same thing as running your own business where you control your own destiny. Thank you.
SECRETARY SALAZAR: Let me -- thank you very much for those comments for
being here on behalf of North Carolina. I'm going to take a few more comments about four more comments and, frankly, it's whoever gets to the microphone first. Whoever wants to go to the microphone first. First four. Only the first four. I have no idea who you are,
the first four. One, two, three, four, five. You sneak in there as a fifth. Okay. Just because you're so eager we're going to let you sneak in there. I'm going to ask you to keep your comments short. Identify yourself, who you're with and go ahead.
JOHN PETERSON: I'm former Congressman John Peterson from Pennsylvania.
I just left Congress January the 5th. For the last 12 years I've served in Congress and 10 of those years opening the offshore and removing the moratorium was one of my number one initiatives and I'll explain why. We need energy in America if we're going to be a competitive country and I'm for all the wind we're talking about today. I'm for all the solar we're talking about, but we have to remember, wind and solar are intermittent and when they aren't producing, when the wind doesn't blow from four to seven like it did in Texas last year and we had brown out because we had inadequate gas backup. For every kilowatt of wind we depend on we have to have a gas generator idling to turn on because the wind doesn't always blow at an adequate pace.
That's fact. I hope we can grow those industries. But we also have to remember that if we double wind and solar in the next year, it will still be less than one-half percent of the energy in this country. For every kilowatt we develop from those, we do nothing about the use of oil and gas. In fact, we need the gas wells to back them up and biofuels which is five percent of our auto fleet, 95 percent is oil. We use a tremendous amount of natural gas to make that. America depends on available affordable energy.
We've had three presidents and 14 Congresses who've not paid much attention to energy, in my opinion. I was there 12 of those years. If we don't have energy supply for America to keep it affordable, we are on
foreign dependence. My concern was 70 percent dependence on foreign oil from unstable countries. Half of that OPEC who's stronger today than ever with Russia at their side.
Folks, we're going to have energy spikes that we have not seen before,
even greater than before. If we don't produce our own, we're giving OPEC and Russia the
right to run the country setting energy prices, because they have their hand on the spigot and they can turn it off and on. I want us to do all the renewables,
Just one final comment. I have been disappointed. I think you're a good
person. But you did remove the Roan Plateau. You did lock up shale oil in the west. You did pull back Utah leases that were already leased. You backed off on the slope. Please, don't lock up the OCS. We need energy for America, American jobs.
SECRETARY SALAZAR: Let me just ask you a question, Congressman Peterson. So
your point of view, as I hear, especially based on your comments on the utility lease sales, Roan Plateau, other places, we should drill everywhere?
JOHN PETERSON: No.
SECRETARY SALAZAR: Let me ask you a question. This particular meeting is
about the Outer Continental Shelf, 1.75 billion acres and we will make the right decision in terms of how we move forward. But
your point of view would be that we go everywhere in the OCS, Gulf of Mexico, the Atlantic, the Pacific, all of Alaska and open it all up for oil and gas development? Is that the point of view that you are advocating here today?
JOHN PETERSON: No. I think your administration should use your business, wisdom and brains God's given you. We should do seismic. What's the easiest to get to the quickest. The Atlantic would be quicker than
the Pacific. No, the Pacific would be quicker because we have infrastructure there. We know the Gulf has infrastructure there. But there's some tremendous reserves very close to that big red glob out here of a megalopolis from New York south that we can produce gas, natural gas is the bridge to renewables. We need natural gas to run this country. It will produce -- it's producing now 20 percent of our electricity. It was seven just 10 years ago. It's the bridge.
SECRETARY SALAZAR: I appreciate your heartfelt comments and
participation here and thank you for speaking.
JOHN PETERSON: Thank you for
RICH MOSKOWITZ: Thank you, Mr. Secretary. My name is Rich Moskowitz.
I'm vice president regulatory affairs for the American Trucking Association and I would be remiss in my responsibilities if I didn't remind everybody here that the clothes you're wearing, the food you're going to eat today, the chairs you're sitting on were all brought here by a truck, and to deliver these essential commodities the trucking industry needs a plentiful supply of affordable diesel fuel. Last year we spent over 145 billion dollars on diesel fuel and that rapid increase in the price of diesel fuel took its tolls on our industry. We had more than 3,000 companies go bankrupt. Over 140,000 jobs lost as a result of that. Those 140,000 people are not going to the Outer Banks this summer. They're not coming to Atlantic City to vacation. They can barely afford to put food on the table. So against this backdrop I appreciate the opportunity to talk about what we need for comprehensive energy policy.
Now, the industry has embraced conservation. We believe in a National speed
limit to conserve fuel. We believe in incentives to install aerodynamic equipment and anti-idling devices, but we're never going to conserve our way into energy independence. We need to develop new supplies as well. We believe in the voluntary use of alternative fuels such as biodiesel. But even if we took every acre of farmland in the United States and converted it to energy crops, we'd only
replace seven percent of the diesel the trucking industry consumes. So need to recognize that biodiesel is expensive and that it presents some challenges. It's bad in cold weather. It has a lower energy content, so you have to use more of it. It creates additional maintenance concerns. So for the foreseeable future while we recognize all these alternatives are important, we're going to be dependent upon diesel fuel to deliver life's essential commodities.
One point I'd like to make to the environmentalists in the room. I believe
fuel that we also very
we're better off, since oil is a global commodity, we're going to need it whether it's produced here in the United States or it's produced elsewhere. It's going to be produced. And isn't it better to produce it here subject to the protections of the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, NEPA, all this government regulation to ensure that it's done in an environmentally responsible manner rather than let Cuba lease land to China to drill off its coast with absolutely no environmental projections or drill off the coast of Mexico with limited environmental protection. Thank you.
SECRETARY SALAZAR: Thank you, Rich. Thank you for your comments. Next.
TOM TOLLY: My name is Tom Tolly. I'm the Governor's appointee to the
Regional Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, one of the volunteer hats I wear. I represent the fishermen, the fishermen both commercial and recreational. Before everybody started being in a depression, we were in a depression for the last eight years. The fish docks along the coast were in trouble and the
reason's not primarily just overfishing by commercial and recreational fishermen. It's the environment. The effects we have on the bays and estuaries in destroying the stocks I'm going to hold a public hearing like you are April 16th and I'm going to basically tell the fishermen of New Jersey put a moratorium on winter flounder which will be affecting both the commercial and the recreational fishermen.
I was at a conference on Saturday talking about EJ, Environmental
Justice. Put another power plant in or incinerator, how it would affect the population. I look at the ocean the same way. I got to deal with fish populations that are crashing because of sewer plants, power plants and everything else we're doing with the system and basically affects --
SECRETARY SALAZAR: So your point then in terms of OCS oil and gas as well
as renewable energy? TOM TOLLY: I don't need
mercury in my fish. I don't need mercury that drilling produces. I don't need the other
straw that's breaking the camel's back. The industry's been suffering both commercial and recreational down in the dumps and just on a personal note, my electric bill, I just got the bill on Saturday, was $2. My gas bills have been cut in half. Why? I got solar panels on my roof. They're basically reducing 87 percent of my electricity. Because of a program Jeanne Fox put in when she was BPU president. And my two cars are hybrids. One gets 50 miles a gallon and one gets 35. So, I am doing my part.
SECRETARY SALAZAR: So from the commercial and recreational fisherman's point
of view who you represent: One, you would oppose oil and gas drilling and exploration in the ocean and; two, with respect to renewable energies and wind?
TOM TOLLY: We support.
SECRETARY SALAZAR: I appreciate that. I only have three more
TOM TOLLY: Talk about the seismic research and the money that's going to
be spent on that seismic research. If we
could spend that money on fish docks that we basically have no money to do. The commercial fisherman would be in better shape.
SECRETARY SALAZAR: I appreciate your comments. Thank you very
ALLISON CHASE: Hi. My name is Allison Chase with Natural Resource Defense
Your name is?
SECRETARY SALAZAR: I'm sorry.
ALLISON CHASE: Allison Chase. SECRETARY SALAZAR: With NRDC. ALLISON CHASE: And a number of
the points that I had have been made today about the problems that oil drilling can cause and Tom just referred to the fact that it's not just oil spills, but also just having the production out there you end up with issues with the drilling muds and the cuttings and the produced water and that is not just local to that area, but can go downstream as well.
One thing I would like to bring up is you mentioned a number of times did
additional seismic surveys. Seismic surveys
can cause a great deal of harm on the environment in that area. If the boat will drag the air gun array with them and that sound is one of the loudest sounds that's heard in the ocean. Fish bladders can erupt from the sound of that. It can confuse marine mammals that rely on sound to find their prey, to mate. There's been incidents of whale beachings that have been tracked to issues of seismic surveys. So I think we need to think very carefully about where we decide and when we decide to do seismic surveys. The other point --
SECRETARY SALAZAR: Let me ask you. So you're an NRDC member, so I hear your
issue with respect to seismic is something that's addressed here in the report. Has your organization taken a position with respect to wind energy off the coast?
ALLISON CHASE: We support renewables developments. One thing that I do
want to stress is that we think that it's important for the agency to think through carefully where they want to develop renewables.
SECRETARY SALAZAR: So make sure that the environmental impacts -- I hear
you. And, secondly, with respect to oil and gas, I take it your position is don't do it.
ALLISON CHASE: I think that we need to think carefully about all situations
like that. I think that personally I would not want to see oil and gas drilling at all, because I don't think personally that it is good for our environment and has a huge impact. There's areas that I think right now need a timeout, like the Beaufort and the Chukchi seas needs a timeout. I think from our agency's perspective what folks would like to see is further assessments done on the cumulative impacts. The report that came out does a good job of providing an overview of what the Department of Interior and some of the other agencies have come to the table with. But I think what's needed is our ocean resources are under so much stress to begin with, what is the cumulative impact of additional drilling?
SECRETARY SALAZAR: Thank you, Allison for your comments. Okay. Our last
comment before the break. KAREN BICE: Thank you for
giving me the opportunity to speak. I appreciate it. I have a specific question I haven't heard asked yet.
SECRETARY SALAZAR: Your name?
KAREN BICE: Karen Bice. I'm a geologist by training. I spent the first 10
years of my career as an exploration geologist at reservoir in the Gulf of Mexico and then had the opportunity to go back to graduate school for my Ph.D. and I chose to study climate change, so I've spent the last 17 years studying past warm climates. So I know what the future holds. I am in the process right now of making another career transition. I'm a tenured scientist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution on Cape Cod, but I'm here this year at Princeton University getting a master's in public policy. My specific interest is energy policy analysis and I'm very interested in whether or not developments of offshore resources is done correctly.
So here's my specific question for you. Their exists the potential to
integrate traditional petroleum offshore platforms and the infrastructure required for the capture of wave and current energy. In the event that hydrocarbon production does occur in the Atlantic offshore, will the Mineral Management Service promote and facilitate, perhaps even require, the integration of fossil fuel production and renewable installations on the shelf where this is feasible or will such integration be dependent on efforts and initiatives of the developers themselves?
SECRETARY SALAZAR: Thank you, question and your resume. KAREN BICE: I am looking for a
SECRETARY SALAZAR: I think
Karen, for the
that's part of get input and comment on how he we might be able to do things better and hear from the oil and gas industry, for example, that they are supportive also of the renewable energy portfolio so there may be places already where we have production and places like the Gulf and other places where we can have that kind
what we're trying to do is to
of integration. But this is really an opportunity for you to comment. Thank you very much, Karen, to all of you who have come out here today.
I want to make a couple of closing comments. First, this meeting will
continue. You will be given an hour for lunch and then after lunch Chris Oynes from MMS -- Chris, if you will stand up. Chris will continue to take your comments until 8:00 tonight, if that's how long you want to stay here and there are a number of other staff members from the Department of Interior who will also continue to be here.
So if you didn't get a chance to speak this morning and want to speak this
afternoon, please, go ahead and do so. We also have all of your comments and there are many. You will have an opportunity to provide those directly to us and move forward with additional comments as well. So I appreciate your participation.
Let me close with the following statement for all of you. First, I end here
where I began, and that is that for the
longest time, for the last 40 years, this country has lacked a comprehensive energy plan, and President Obama has made it loud and clear to the United States and to the world that we will move forward to develop a comprehensive energy plan and the OCS will be part of that comprehensive energy plan and my efforts as Secretary of Interior is to get as much input from affected communities and interest all around this country and that is why this hearing today is being held in Atlantic City. We go on to New Orleans and San Francisco and on to Anchorage, Alaska to hear from those communities about their wishes.
I want to just say that I believe that at the end of the day we cannot
afford to fail this time. I think when all of you who are here who have been involved in this issue all your lives look back at what happened in the past, the United States, frankly, has failed in terms of moving forward with an energy agenda that is something that is deserving of our people.
I think it has been a failure
of leadership of both parties, frankly, with respect to moving forward on an agenda that gets us to where we need to go as a country. But I do believe, as President Obama believes, that a comprehensive energy and climate change plan is necessary for our country and we will get there. This is a time of change. It is a time for us to recognize they are imperatives that are with us today. Are not going to be just passing imperatives that are here for a year. The imperatives of our jobs and economic security here at home. The imperatives of dealing with the National security implications of our huge overdependence on foreign oil. The imperative of us dealing with what's happening with climate change and the rising of sea levels. Those are all real imperatives and so it would be a dereliction of duty on the part of the United States of America if the leadership of our country does not move us forward with that imperative, so we will move forward with that and the OCS will definitely be a part of that.
Let me make a comment quickly about the OCS. First. With respect to the
renewable energy potential which the governors and so many of you here have spoken to me about. You want us to move forward with final rule-making so that this wind energy potential of the Atlantic Coast begins to be realized. We have been working very hard, not only within the Department of Interior, but also with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission as we move forward with that agenda and hopefully we will be able to have a final set of rules with respect to renewable energy here in the not too distance future. In fact, hopefully the next month or two will be able to get those in final form.
I will ask all of you to help us see through how we look at this as a
regional opportunity and maybe subregions of the Atlantic or the Atlantic as a whole, because at the end of the day I think we can probably do more if we don't vulcanize ourselves state by state along the Atlantic Coast and I know that Governor Carcieri and Governor Corzine have talked to me about the possibility of trying to do some things more on a regional basis.
I think there's a lot that can be learned in terms of information sharing. I
think when you look at how we connect up renewable energy from wind to the grid that having that kind of a relationship will only help us get over whatever hurdle might exist there. Let me finally thank all of you who have given of your time to come and spend half of your day here with us in New Jersey. Some of you will spend more than half of your day here, but I have very much enjoyed hearing not only from the elected officials, but from the members of the public who so much care about this.
When I became Secretary of Interior I spoke about this department being
in a sense the department of all of the Americas, and it is that. It is not just a department from the west. It is a department that goes from sea to shining sea and stretches out into the 1.75 billion acres of the oceans around America as well as to the poles of our globe as well as to the Insular Islands for which we have jurisdiction.
This department will move
forward with that kind of vision for the future of our globe and the future of this country, and one of the Keystone parts of that agenda will be to participate in developing this effective energy and climate change program for the future.
I also want to say that as that vision and that agenda unfolds itself, there
are important aspects where I think the environmental community and the industry can come together to help us in creating what I think Stewart Udall and John Kennedy and Bobby Kennedy and Pat Noonan and Henry Diamond and others envisioned way back in the 1960s, and that is that we move forward with an effort that would fund a land and water conservation fund program that could essentially make sure that we were taking care of the beautiful landscapes of this America.
Some 50 years later we, frankly, have breached that promise time and
time again, because the original intentions of what was going to happen with respect to the royalty proceeds and other funds that would come from oil and gas development have really
gone into other needs as opposed to going into dealing with America's treasured landscapes. I can see us moving forward to a point where, yes, we are taking care of our National icons and our National parks. We are moving forward with river restoration efforts all across the United States of America from the Chesapeake to the Hudson to the Colorado to the Rio Grande and all the rest of the great rivers of our states. I can see us moving forward with great programs for the young people of America. And having the kind of vision that Franklin Roosevelt had when he created Civilian Conservation Corps and put hundreds of thousands of young people to work.
So even though when you look at a specific issue, such as oil and gas
development in the Outer Continental Shelf, you see that there is great vision and different perspectives on that particular issue, but I would also ask you to find those areas where we can find some common ground as we move forward to continuing to make our nation the envy of the world. Thank you, very, very much.
(Luncheon recess from 12:06 p.m. until 1:24 p.m.)
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
REGIONAL PUBLIC MEETING ON ENERGY RESOURCES OF THE OUTER CONTINENTAL SHELF (OCS)
ATLANTIC COAST REGION
UNITED STATES GEOLOGICAL SURVEY (USGS) MINERALS MANAGEMENT SERVICE (MMS)
MONDAY, APRIL 6, 2009 ATLANTIC CITY CONVENTION CENTER ATLANTIC CITY, NEW JERSEY
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR PANEL MEMBERS:
(VARIOUS OF THE FOLLOWING PANEL MEMBERS WERE PRESENT AT DIFFERENT TIMES DURING THE FOLLOWING PUBLIC COMMENT PORTION) CHRIS OYNES
RENEE ORR LARS HERBST STEVEN O. TEXTORIS HAROLD SYMS JAMES KENDALL ROBERT LaBELLE
DON AURAND: Anybody who's got a one on your card just line up and we'll just
take you in order. TONY VAUGHN: My name is Tony
Vaughn. I'm senior vice president for Devon Energy. I work the Gulf Mexico division. I am here also to represent the American Exploration and Petroleum Council.
First of all, I'd like to express my appreciation for Secretary Salazar
and the MMS for allowing us to provide our comments this morning. I worked in oil and gas industry for over 30 years with a good portion of those in the Gulf of Mexico. We've produced about 40 billion barrels of oil equivalent out of the Gulf to date. Many hurricanes have passed through our producing area including several category fives in the last few years. We have not experienced any material environmental impact from our producing platforms during that time.
However, I do have two large concerns about the Gulf of Mexico. We have
seen supply disruptions during these weather events which cause short-term spikes in our
oil and gas pricing. Also the Gulf is a very mature basin. We've been working that for about 60 years. While we are developing our deep waters and are experiencing great results today, about 25 percent of the nation's oil and gas is currently being produced from this one area. My concern is that having worked this area fairly extensively where are we going to go when this matures out? What impact will that have 10 years from now? The eastern Gulf of Mexico which has been off limits to industry has shown oil and gas discoveries very close to infrastructure. This area could have a immediate benefit for our nation. One final comment regarding the Gulf and from the information supplied this morning is that the Gulf will probably produce about five to eight times the original estimates of its initial resource potential. Again, that consistent production over current estimate is due to increased technology and drawing wells since the 1940s.
Regarding offshore East Coast we heard this morning that about 50 wells have
been drilled there off the coast of
Massachusetts, New Jersey, Delaware, Georgia and Florida. These wells were drilled back in the 1970s and early '80s and not surprising, these wells were drilled with no environmental impact and this drilling did confirm oil and gas in the offshore East Coast. It's been proof that this area has generated hydrocarbons and these fluids were contained in what appears to be sediments capable of producing commercial quantities. Companies have submitted seismic permits. This information will be key in requiring additional or a better understanding of the East Coast. Therefore, I recommend that environmental impact study be completed, permits approved and ensure the oil and gas industry the process will be carried out without interruption. Offshore will provide diversification from having such a large amount of U.S. production concentrated in the Gulf of Mexico. Also believe that impact amounts of oil and gas can be produced offshore East Coast, again providing the nation's consumers with more energy security and price stability.
Thank you for the opportunity to share our views regarding or nation's
DON AURAND: Thank you. I'm going to add one little twist to this since we
don't necessarily have all six people. The young lady who is sitting next to you is going to take your number card and that way we can keep track of that.
PETER HUMPHRIES: Thank you for allowing me to come before you. I'm Peter
Humphries of Toms River, New Jersey, a seaside resort. As an engineer the benefits of drilling is a plus, not only for the United States, but for New Jersey. We can create jobs and money that the state needs desperately. It's been proven that to have rigs in the oceans promotes fishing habitat. No wide oil spills have been reported over the years.
According to the MMS, offshore oil and gas development has an outstanding safety and environmental record. In fact,
less than one percent have been caused by extracting and drilling activities. Let's
drill now. Drill now. And I would like to mention
that winds can shift monthly, so we can say with the Gulf Stream off New Jersey in the summer we have seen cold waters as well as warm waters alternately. That is, the winds cannot be guaranteeing 24/7 and they can move and if we can move the windmills the best ways, let's do it. I don't think that's going to be able to be done.
So let's drill for oil and gas and employ thousands, and I submit that would
help New Jersey, especially Atlantic City here, where there's great unemployment. Thank you.
DON AURAND: Thank you, sir.
JIM LENARD: Members of the name is Jim Lenard. I represent Wind which is an offshore wind
panel, my Bluewater development company. We're working to develop projects from Massachusetts down through Maryland. And we're very excited about the new administration and the advocacy that it's making. But we also want to congratulate the
staff at MMS, particularly the staff that's been working on renewable energy for many, many years while there's been some disparagement of the political appointments that we've heard from in the past, I think the staff has conducted themselves professionally and very supportive of what we as an industry will achieve offshore, so thank you very much for that.
I'd also like to thank Governor Corzine and Kevin Law for being here today and
speaking on behalf of the New York and New Jersey development project. Let me just talk about economics for a minute. When we look at the industry from Massachusetts down to Maryland, over the next year we think that there will be about 15 billion dollars of projects in various stages of development. 15 billion dollars of projects in development over the next year will be considered by different states. Automatically 60 percent of those funds will be sent overseas. Nine billion dollars will immediately go overseas to purchase products that are not available in the United States. Turbines, cables, other
parts of offshore wind equipment that's not made here. European manufacturers which have been operating and selling product to the European offshore wind development industry since 1991 have not made a decision to come here yet, for several reasons. One is regulatory uncertainty. They're waiting to see the MMS rules. They're waiting to see the MMS, FERC, MOU. They're waiting to see signals from this Federal government that there is a real commitment that is a firm and long-lasting commitment and have offshore wind.
Second, they're very nervous about the American jurisprudence system.
They're worried about litigation. They're worried about the rules being challenged, the MOU being challenged and they're worried about then therefore making investments in the United States when they don't know when those investments might return something for them.
As a result, what we're calling for is for this agency and for this government
to find creative ways to give comfort to the European manufacturers which are the only ones
making offshore wind equipment right now that's been tested and proven in the marine environment, to come here in some type of protected measure, so that they will start producing product that we can buy here. I think I can speak for all the offshore wind industry. We'd really like to keep our dollars here in the U.S. just like we want to keep our energy development here in the United States. This is great opportunity to create an entirely new industry, offshore wind industry, thousands of jobs, good union paying jobs up and down the East Coast that will put a lot of people to work. The Great Lakes also can put a lot of people to work and what we need to figure out now is get that regulatory certainty and then figure out how to get businesses over here that will manufacture for America in America. Thank you very much.
DON AURAND: I want to just make sure that I apologize to all the
speakers, because when I have to interrupt you and say 30 seconds, I know it's disruptive and I apologize. Go ahead, ma'am.
ELLIE TUOHY: I'm Ellie Tuohy
and I'm from Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. Thank you for holding this meeting and asking for our input. We are the only country that as a matter of policy locks up our natural resources. We cannot drill for oil and natural gas in Alaska or the Back Shoal or in the Midwest. We cannot build wind farms off our coast and we cannot put solar powers in Death Valley, thanks to bureaucratic red tape and lawsuits from radical environmentalists.
Our National energy policy can best be summed up as we'll just let other
countries take care of it. Well, I remember the gas rationings of the 1970s. I don't want to see our country go through that ever again and as the world's last remaining super power, we shouldn't have to. We need a National energy policy that works for us, not against us. No longer should those who worship at the altar of radical environmentalism dictate how much energy we have and how much it will cost.
A National energy policy is a matter of National security. We cannot
effectively protect our country if we rely on other countries to provide us with gas and
natural oil. Last summer when gas prices went over $4 a gallon you couldn't turn on the news without hearing about how reliant we are on foreign energy sources and how much this was costing us, but now that prices have dropped, that is no longer part of our conversation.
Well, it should be. Every single day we should be talking about gas
prices and the cost of energy and how we rely on other countries to provide our energy for us. Every single day we should be talking about how we can develop our own natural resources and how we can develop the next generation of fuels. We should invest in wind, solar, biomass, other alternative and renewable fuels, but those won't be commercially available for at least a decade. In the meantime we should figure out how we can develop American oil and natural gases. We can no longer ignore the fact that we let other countries dictate our energy consumption. I believe we are the greatest country on earth and it concerns -- as it concerns our energy policies we should start acting like it. I want to thank you, the
American Conservative Union, for bringing this meeting to our attention and Secretary Salazar for listening. Thank you.
JEFF TITTEL: Jeff Tittel, director of New Jersey Sierra Club and I'm
here representing our 23,000 members in our state and our 800,000 members nationally. We are here today because this is the most important set of meetings that this body has had, I think, in its history. It's going to determine the future of this country. Whether we're going to have a clean energy policy that's going to be focused on renewable energy
or we're going foolishness of important step
to stick to the fossil the past and today is an forward in that process. We're here today to say that
it's easier right now to drill for oil off the mid-Atlantic Coast than it is to put windmills up and that kind of policy has to change.
When you look at the overall picture in looking at your own numbers, we
don't have a lot of natural gas or oil off our coast. We don't have the infrastructure to bring it onshore, but we have plenty of wind.
We have plenty of opportunities to bring it onshore because major substations in places like Atlantic City and Toms River and Asbury Park and the city of Newark and so on and so forth. So we can provide easily in the next 10 years 30 percent of the electricity for the people of New Jersey through offshore wave, wind and solar. And you guys have to help get out of the way and allow for changes in rules to allow for wind and other renewable energies off the coast to be made easier, not tougher. When it comes to oil, there are plenty of places to drill that are not environmentally sensitive. We need to change the way we do business if we really want to make this country energy independent. We can't rely on fossil fuels. We have to move forward to a green technology and a green economy.
The Sierra Club of New Jersey which is part of Blue Green Alliance with
labor did a study that we could create 150,000 jobs in New Jersey with investments in renewable energy technology and energy efficiency. That's the wave of the future. Wave buoys and windmills, not oil derricks.
We're here today to say instead of going out there and mapping seismic
activity that can disturb marine mammals and fisheries, you should be instead working to map our coastal resources to find the areas that have the least environmental impact and the greatest amount of the wind so that we can get windmills off our coast so that we can meet all targets for greenhouse gas reduction renewable energy.
The people of New Jersey for a long time have opposed offshore oil and
natural gas because of the impact to the 30 billion dollar tourist industry. The only oil we ever want to see on a beach in New Jersey is sun tan oil. Thank you, very much.
DON AURAND: Is there anybody else who's got a one that wasn't in the room
when I called at the beginning? If I could have people who have two A, B, C, D E or F.
REVEREND MICHAEL SHAWN: Thank you. My name is Reverend Michael Shawn. I'm from Clifton, New Jersey. I have a church in Pleasantville where I'm the elder at. I also
worked for 26 years in the oil fleeting
environmental as a test equipment manufacturer in engineering, located in Pennsylvania in 1993 and we know about environments, because we make things that people test there and are developing. I heard people say about these whales being beached because of sonar. We got sonar from the fish. The fish -- there's a dolphin out there that has waves come out of him and goes back and forth and that's how he directs his path. How can you say we hurt fish if God created it that way? That's my point on that one, okay?
I also worked Exxon Mobil over here. We made the recycling of the papers.
We made the unit that would put on top of the structures to recycle the oil vapors so we didn't have the pollution in the air. Exxon in Linden. Our company did that in 1993.
Now, what I'm trying to say is really look into what you're saying, because I
think people are exaggerating a lot of things here and I'm for drilling. I'm for drilling. I wasn't in '65. Because I was a beach buddy too. I would come out to the shore and just go to the beach and whatever you want to do
and that was the way it was when you're ignorant of political things about law, about righteousness and about what's happening around you.
Now I happen to care about not just people in New Jersey. I happen to care
about all the other 50 states. And if we need oil, I believe that we should drill and that's my point of view. Thank you.
TED TIPPER: Howdy. I'm Ted Tipper. I'm retired MMS employee. At MMS I
was a statistics and computer geek. Currently United States has about 2.4 percent of the world's crude reserves. We produce about eight percent of the world's crude and consume around 24 percent of the world's crude. Currently the United States is producing its endowment at a rate that is much faster than any other major crude producers in the world. The drill, baby, drill folks imply this process should be accelerated, that is, the way you obtain energy strength is becoming the first nation in the world to exhaust our endowment. Suggest it's a bad policy for future generations. I'm here to advocate a
different approach. Petroleum 2. That is put a -- have additional tiers to the current SPR2. If you believe that oil will increase in value through time, then the resources you set aside in SPR2 is an appreciating asset. It will be an endowment for future generations, so, for example, if the Gulf of Mexico was ever depleted, we'd have SPR2 to call upon.
Different policy approaches can be applied in different locations. We could
drill in the Baltimore Canyon, put Georges Bank into a moratoria and place NTO into an SPR2. Thank you.
DAVID RAINEY: Good afternoon. My name is David Rainey. I'm exploration vice
president for BP in the Gulf of Mexico. BP supports the MMS proposed leasing program for 2010 to 15 and we appreciate the opportunity to participate in this public meeting. BP supports all of the above energy policy. This means that diverse portfolio of energy sources including oil, gas, renewable alternatives and the efficient use of all energy. These are challenging times. But the global economy
will recover and when it does it will need increasing amounts of energy to grow. Our nation's ability to maintain its leadership position in the world will depend on diverse supplies of energy from all sources.
Globally the world uses roughly 80 million barrels of oil a day. The U.S.
consumes a quarter of this, about 20 million barrels of which we import 60 percent or 12 million barrels. BP supports the administration's view, but energy security is inseparable from National security. Logically the U.S. must produce all energy of all kinds and import less.
BP is the largest producer of oil and natural gases in the U.S. We're also
the largest investor in energy of all sorts from oil and gas to biofuels to wind and solar. While we are committed to alternatives, we realize that it will be many years before they can make a large contribution to the U.S. energy mix. It is our strong belief that the greatest potential source for new domestic energy is the oil and natural gas that lies off our shores on the
Outer Continental Shelf or OCS. A Department of the Interior
study estimates that the oil to be found in areas previously off limits is roughly 18 billion barrels. That's equal to 30 years of U.S. imports from Saudi Arabia. Meet Americans' requirements for over 10 years. These are just estimates. The fact is we won't know how much is really there until we explore. It is also true that not all of the OCS will be highly prospective. At BP when we explore new areas we begin with low impact, small scale two-dimensional acquisition. These data allow you to identify the most prospective areas so we can focus higher cost, larger scale activity on the areas with the most potential for significant resources.
In addition, early acquisitions of seismic data will give the American people
more and better information about the resources on the OCS. Technology will be the key to unlocking these resources. Advances in drilling and technologies now allow us to produce natural gas with like facilities being seen from the shoreline. We do this in places
like Alaska, the UK, Norway and elsewhere. We can do it here too.
It's important we do all of this without harm to the oceans and we have
accumulated an environmental track record the envy of the industry.
In summary, BP proposes the plan for 2015 and the need for diverse energy
supplies. We believe that increased access to the OCS has potential to add significant resources in sources of energy for the consumer and U.S. economy. Thank you.
GREG RIPPI: Thank you. My name's Greg Rippi. I'm not a politician. I
don't work for a gas company. I'm not a geologist and I'm not a former employee of MMS. I'm a small business guy who lives in upstate New York. I can only tell you what happens in our community when gas prices and energy costs go up. People lose their jobs. Companies shut down and the businesses that are left can't operate very well and I'm sure all of you are familiar with getting deliveries and having that little fuel surcharge at the bottom of the invoice. I've
heard some wonderful things today, surprisingly so. I'm here because this is an important topic.
One of the things I heard this morning was the secretary stating the fact
that from his point of view we've been funding both sides of terrorism. Well, as someone who has an older brother sitting in Iraq right now fighting for us, that means a great deal.
I would like to see stronger domestic energy policy here which includes all
different facets. It's what Congressman Bishop spoke about this morning. We have short-term needs. We have long term needs. We have a limited resource as the gentleman spoke about just a few minutes ago. What I'm urging you, the panel, to do and your counterparts, wherever they are, take a close look at just a very few things, what's practical, what makes common sense. Follow the science. These are things that we actually as normal Americans need you to do. Because that's the only way we and our children and our grandchildren are going to be able to afford to live. I'd like to thank
you, the Secretary for giving us the opportunity. I'd like to thank the ACU for making me aware of this happening today. Thank you.
JIM MARTIN: Good afternoon. I'm Jim Martin. I'm chairman of the National Defense Council Foundation and when Secretary Salazar announced these hearings I wanted one
to be here in Atlantic City I thought to myself, been there, done that. In fact, Yogi Berra came to mind as it's deja vu all over again you might say. Three years ago, the reason I say that, I testified here. I then wore my senior citizen hat as head of a group called the 60 Plus Association, which I'm still head of. We have 110,000 seniors here in the great state of New Jersey and back then I called it an economic issue with our seniors.
Well, obviously, I'm wearing this hat now and you can't tell I was in the
Marine Corps. I know it's hard to tell that. But militarily most of my seniors have served in Army, Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard, National Guard, you name it. They now
consider this a National security issue. You've heard that here earlier, National emergency. It clearly is a National security issue.
I want to use some military here. It's a clear and present danger nation's security and what I'm talking this dangerous dependence on foreign
jargon to our about, sources of oil.
I went back in the '60s. I've sat through many a -- We've got to get both
sides working together and I'm not talking about in the Congress. I'm talking about the folks in the environmental community as well as the energy producers. Nobody's got 100 percent of the answers. They got to start working together for the future of this country.
Back when President Carter was in office he said we were 37 percent
dependence on foreign sources. His job he said is to see that it doesn't rise another percentile. There's enough blame to go around. We've had five presidents since then, two democrats, three republicans. It's not
37. It's closer to 70. That is a clear and present danger. President Obama just said yesterday that -- he was talking about nuclear reductions. He said our old ways must be changed. In fact, I think he was even quoted as saying yes, we can. That's fine. I agree with him. You can apply this to the Outer Continental Shelf, that always must be changed. The reason I say this, someone once said it's a perverse policy we practice in this country not developing our own God-given resources, but having to buy from foreign sources that may not be too friendly toward us. So what could be better than develop our own resources. What a quaint and novel approach, develop our own resources.
I'll conclude on this comment. It is a clear and present danger to the National security of this country, this
dependence. We've got to wean ourselves away. We got to use wind, solar, all of it, but, look, those are potentially down the road great resources, but right now we better start developing some of our resources here at home. This 70 percent will go to 80 and then one
final comment in the Strait of Hormuz a couple weeks ago, submarine and a ship collided. Minor tragedy. It doesn't take a stretch of the imagination to have someone like Ahmadinejad to sink a couple ships in that harbor. Then we got real problems in that harbor. Thank you.
ROBERT VANKAMPER: My name is Robert Vankamper (phonetic). I'm from Brick,
New Jersey. Senator Menendez earlier very eloquently said 99 percent of what I wanted to say, but I am surprised at that one thing hasn't come up and that's the proposal that is out there now to build islands in the open Atlantic to bring in LNG tankers. That's another case of more dependency on foreign fossil fuel. It's a case of risk. It's a case of the Coast Guard having to patrol these areas when ships are in there at taxpayer expense. It's a risk to the environment because huge areas of the ocean floor are going to be covered by these islands and in the end it's a product that we don't need. We have domestic natural gas and that's what we should use.
People seem to be concerned mostly about cost, and the only thing that is
going to bring down the cost of energy is competition. By competition I don't mean more oil companies or more gas companies. I mean more types of energy, whether the future is hydrogen or whatever ultimately will be our savior. That's what we need to be working towards. Thank you.
DON AURAND: So we're on three A through F. I got to tell you, I'm not sure
I know how the secretary stood up here and didn't have his back hurt all day long. He's a stronger guy than I am, I guess. If I collapse, don't take it personal.
JIM BENTON: Good afternoon. My name is Jim Benton. I'm executive director
of the New Jersey Petroleum Council from Trenton, New Jersey. Permit me to welcome you to New Jersey. And I begin my remarks by recognizing that New Jersey is home to a significant presence of the petroleum industry, both engaged in refining as the sixth largest petroleum refining state in the nation, marketing, transportation, research
and development, engaged in all areas of the state. We welcome the opportunity to present our views and just begin by highlighting some of the presence of the industry here in New Jersey.
In North Jersey there exists the largest storage area of petroleum products in the nation. In the Delaware Valley we have
the largest crude oil port on the East Coast. New Jersey's two refineries on the Delaware River combined with the refineries located across in Pennsylvania and Delaware to serve the industry. New Jersey's also home to the northernmost terminus of the Colonial Pipeline that begins a journey from Houston, Texas and runs all the way up to Linden, New Jersey.
Natural gas is supplied throughout our state whether it's to heat our
hospitals or fuel our home or provide for industry throughout the state. We are also home, as you noticed when you came into Atlantic City, to contributions from wind resources, from solar energy and we will be making needed new investments in new fuels and technology, most of the research is done right
here in New Jersey. The industry has shown conservation by attending to our refineries and improvements in energy efficiency and developments in new technology all begin right here in the Garden State.
Today I'm here to support an OCS plan that allows for vital oil and natural
gas development in putting our state and our region back on the road to economic recovery and to meet the energy needs of all of our consumers. It's something that we take very seriously. Let's begin by looking briefly at the history. In the 1980s after public debate with this agency's input we had a Federal lease sale for development in an area almost 89 miles off this Atlantic City coastline in an area known as the Baltimore Canyon. While discoveries out there which were made were not deemed to be commercially viable at the time, technology and improvements in that technology have now given us opportunity to make improvements in a way that we believe will be beneficial to the consumer, particularly here in the northeast. It's a way of attracting additional investment. Public sentiment was
clearly on our side during that time. Elected legislative leaders in Trenton in the State House introduced legislation to help attract additional investment by exempting it from the state sales tax. We believe the public in New Jersey is on our side. Governor Corzine's own public opinion poll released to the Star Ledger on October 27 detailed over 60 percent support OCS activity in contrast to the governor's stated view.
We believe as pragmatic, hardworking New Jerseyans, we have an interest
in promoting an offshore plan. We encourage the agency to go about its mission and allow us to explore. Thank you.
KELLY QUINLAN: Hello. Good afternoon. My name is Kelly Quinlan. I'm
here today representing Alliance for Living Ocean which is a nonprofit organization based locally here on Long Beach Island, New Jersey. We are dedicated to promoting and maintaining clean water and a healthy coastal environment. On behalf of our members I want to thank you for being here today to listen to our comments.
As stated in the DPP, the Draft Proposed Program, it will take an estimated
five to 10 years for action to actually occur. In this time frame it's our wish that we should develop renewable sustainable energy resources. It's clear from the report to the secretary and we went over this morning that extensive seismic testing must be conducted in order to effectively evaluate potential oil and gas reserves as the current data is outdated. With the minimal quantities of fossil fuel energy expected from this expedition, the risk is far too great to warrant an attempt. The funds that seismic testing would require should instead be used to invest in clean renewable energy. ALO is proud to be at the forefront of this new era of responsibility. Due to our long-standing mission, we urge you to be forward thinking and make the United States an environmental leader through the investment in safe, sustainable and renewable energy.
The same conclusion was drawn from the survey of available data as quoted
renewable energy sources appear more
attractive as we look for ways to address environmental, economic and energy security. We want clean beaches and clean energy. Both of these are vital to our coastal economy. We implore you to join us in supporting alternative energy development. Fossil fuel exploration and the minimal energy relief that it might bring is not worth the risk. An oil spill would destroy our economy worse than what this energy crisis might bring. We represent hardworking, tax paying concerned citizens who vote for candidates and for administrations that seek to preserve and protect our periled environment. We speak not only on behalf of our members whose livelihoods are at stake, including not only surfers, fisherman, business owners and lifeguards, but those who sustain our local economy and ocean goers everywhere. We thank you for your time and consideration for the development of clean, renewable energy. Thank you.
TIM SAMPSON: Good afternoon. I'm Tim Sampson. I'm manager of exploration
and production for API, the American Petroleum
Institute. Represents nearly 400 companies involved in all aspects of the oil and gas industries, including production, refining, marketing and transportation. We welcome this opportunity to present the industry views on the proposed five-year plan for offshore access.
Increased oil and natural gas development is vital to putting our nation on the road to economic recovery and meeting the
energy needs of American consumers. All areas of the OCS should be open for natural gas development. This would mean more jobs, more revenues for cash strapped local, state and Federal government and greater energy security. The U.S. Energy Information Agency estimates that -- I'm sorry. Administration, estimates that even with significant gains in renewable energy oil and natural gas will continue to provide more than half the nation's energy for decades to come. We need to act now to increase access to the oil and natural gas resources to meet our concern and future energy needs. Oil and natural gas leasing and development on Federal lands and
in OCS waters have generated nearly 95 billion in revenues from 1998 to 2008. In 2008 alone U.S. government collected and distributed nearly 22 billion from onshore and offshore oil and gas production. A recent ISCF international study found that developing off limits area of the OCS could generate 1.3 trillion in revenues for local, state and Federal governments. And if you include the off limits areas onshore, the revenue estimates jumped to 1.7 trillion. The study also found that thousands of jobs would be created. Polls have shown that over 60 percent of Americans support increasing access to new offshore oil and natural gas resources.
Unfortunately, as a nation, we've delayed the development of these
resources and we can't afford to delay. We must face up to our energy challenge. Every day we delay costs Americans jobs, reduces revenues to Federal, state and local governments and impacts our National security.
Finally, the U.S. oil and natural gas industry has an outstanding
offshore environmental record that proves how
offshore development can exist with clean oceans and coasts. The U.S. Outer Continental Shelf produces more than one million barrels of oil a day. According to MMS data since 1980 less than 1,000 of one percent of that oil has been spilled, a small amount compared with the volume from natural -- we need to restore America's economic health and ensure our energy security today and in the years ahead. America cannot wait. We need to open all areas of the OCS for all natural gas develop in a safe and environmentally sound matter. That concludes my statement. Thank you.
CINDY ZIPF: Hi. Good afternoon. My name is Cindy Zipf. I'm
executive director of Clean Ocean Action which is a coalition of organizations, 125 organizations, from Montauk down to Cape May. We worried and concerned and focused on the waters off these shared coasts. It was once the laughing stock of the nation. It was the ocean dumping capital of the world. We had dead and dying dolphins washing up on our beaches, raw sewage, medical waste. We had
closed beaches for hundreds of days at a time. We all worked very, very hard, made sacrifices and we now have a beautiful, contrary to other's opinion, beautiful coastline. It's not perfect, but it's much better than it was and it now is the goose that's laying the golden egg for this state, as you heard from our elected officials.
We nearly have 100 percent of our New Jersey delegation, 99 percent that is
opposed to offshore oil drilling because we worked hard to clean up our coast and we don't want to see it industrialized.
Now our ocean water body here is one of the highest of marine mammals and
sea turtles anywhere in the United States and supports many threatened and endangered species. We want to keep that going. We want to keep the diversity here and not interrupt that with oil drilling off our coast, which is why it is so unconscionable and abhorrent to us that we are now once again discussing offshore drilling in the Atlantic Ocean.
We had a moratorium and it was thanks to the shortsighted and, you know,
drill, baby, drill crowd, drill here, drill now, that we're even talking about this. It makes no sense. As your own data suggests, there's very puny puddles of possible oil or gas anywhere in the Atlantic. It's like finding a needle in the haystack.
Major point of concern for us is the seismic activity. The Secretary asked
a lot of people what we thought about the seismic activity. That's enough to blow the eardrums out of a lot of this marine life that I just mentioned, the marine mammals and fish as well.
The other problem with oil drilling and gas drilling is that what happens
on the rig doesn't stay on the rig. It contaminates the entire water column and because we live in an area that has something called a Gulf Stream, any mistakes that get made along anywhere on the Eastern Seaboard will be shared up along the entire Atlantic. So, you know, you put these clunky big teeter-tottering things in the vulnerable pathway in hurricanes, we've seen what happened in Katrina and Rita where over 100
rigs were destroyed. At the same time we have nor'easters. Nor'easters last a lot longer than hurricanes and they are nasty. They can last for days, not hours like hurricanes.
I would only like to say that the ocean produces 50 percent of the oxygen on
this planet. So every other breath you take is a gift from the ocean and producing more fossil fuels is causing the ocean to become acidic and if we continue down this path, we are going to run out of oxygen. So putting more oil, more gas facilities or any fossil fuel facilities in the ocean is unacceptable and I concur.
I want to just augment what Bob Vankamper said about the LNG facilities.
There are three proposals to bring foreign liquified natural gas off the coast of New Jersey and that is unacceptable.
Thank you for joining us here at the Jersey shore and we will continue to
submit comments as you consider these proposals nationwide and, you know, you have a big task on your hand, but remember, fossil fuels and the ocean don't mix.
DON AURAND: Okay. I we're up to number four A through F. CATHERINE MORNWOCKIE:
go ahead, huh?
DON AURAND: Yes, you You're at the front of the line. So
to talk first.
CATHERINE MORNWOCKIE: is Catherine Mornwockie (phonetic).
shall. you get
My name I'm a
volunteer with the New York City Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation. I'm also an educator in draft and media design. I live in Brooklyn. I work in Manhattan. I surf in Queens year-round. Spring, summer, fall and winter, year-round. Our chapter's currently fighting an artificial island off our coast which will serve as an intake facility for liquified natural gas. I know other people mentioned it here. It is our position that we oppose offshore drilling and oil and natural gas exploration on the Outer Continental Shelf. Though it's easy to forget, New York City is a coastal community surrounded by water with shoreline preserves, city beaches and waterways. These are collective resources
for the public and highly valued in such a teeming metropolis. With the threat of global warning and rising sea levels being a huge concern for a city like the one I live in, it is imperative that we look at renewable and sustainable sources of energy and not fossil fuels. Bottom line, the risk is high. Reward is low. Development of the Outer Continental Shelf for oil and gas interests is not the answer. Thank you.
HEATHER SAFFERT: Hello. My name is Dr. Heather Saffert. I'm a staff
scientist with Clean Ocean Action. Our nation must make critical choices in response to our high greenhouse gas emissions and climatic changes that are occurring more rapidly than previously predicted. We must end our addiction for fossil fuels that are changing our climate and the ocean.
NASA's top climate scientist, Dr. Hansen, has said that scientists at the
forefront of climate research have seen a stream of new data in the past few years with startling implications for humanity and all life on earth. Offshore energy resources show
potential for positive renewable solutions as well as devastating fossil fuel problems.
We need leadership that considers our future and our planet. We have
a narrow window of opportunity to make substantial changes necessary to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Within five years experts predict that the Arctic will be ice free in the summer for the first time in a million years. More extreme weather events, more intense flooding and droughts are becoming common.
With our high population densities and extensive coastal development,
the Atlantic Coast is at increased risk due to sea level rise. Sea level has already risen by a foot over the 20th century and the rate of rise is predicted to increase. By 2100 sea level may rise by over three feet. The North Atlantic and mid-Atlantic will be hit hard, especially during severe storm events. According to the EPA rising sea levels is already eroding beaches, emerging low-lying lands and barrier islands and increasing the salinity of estuaries and fresh water aquifers
along the Atlantic. Expansion of sea water due to
warming and melting of glaciers will make these impacts worse. According to NOAA ocean acidity has increased 30 percent in the last 100 years due to increased carbon dioxide absorption by the ocean. By 2100 they said if we continue our current level of carbon dioxide emissions we'll have the lowest level of ocean pH in 20 million years. All coral in the ocean is predicted to be in danger of dying off by midcentury. Microscopic marine life that are critical to the ocean's food web will also be damaged because they will not be able to protect their shells. Shellfish, their growth and survival will also be impaired by acid.
Recent international climate talks has said about climate change that the
science is clear, the threat is real, the facts are on the ground. The case of inaction or inadequate action is not acceptable.
Our nation's offshore energy policy must be consistent with plans to reduce
greenhouse gas emissions and to address
climate change. Offshore fossil fuels mean more problems instead of less. Let's pursue sustainable solutions that can be found in environmentally sound solutions and environmental conservation. Thank you.
TOM MOSKITIS: Good afternoon. My name's Tom Moskitis. I'm with the American
Gas Association. We're the National trade association for America's local gas distribution, the local gas companies that deliver clean burning natural gas as consumed by 170 million customers each and every day and every time American consumers use natural gas they are doing something great for the environment. Natural gas is our cleanest burning fuel, the cleanest fuel the earth produces. It's the only form of energy with the word natural in it. It is an answer to our twin challenges of climate change and energy independence.
Congressman Peterson spoke
earlier about how complementary natural with renewable energy. That is a very, tight scenario. Natural gas means more renewable energy. Wind energy which is
gas is very
most of operates about a third of the time. Two-thirds of the time it's not operating. It needs backup power and that is clean, natural gas to back that up. Natural gas also can fund renewable energy development. All of the production revenues from offshore natural gas production can fund the land and water conservation fund that the secretary talks about and it can vastly fund increased renewables in the form of wind and biomass and solar and so forth.
Instead of using taxpayer money to invest in renewable energy, we can use
clean, natural gas production money to invest and offshore we urge you to open up as much of the area of the offshore as possible for the production of clean natural gas. The industry has proven, they have proven over several decades all over the world that natural gas can be produced offshore without harming the environment and they can complement with the renewable energy.
Imagine, once natural gas is found, it can be produced on the seabed,
brought to consumers via undersea pipelines
just as it is in the Gulf of Mexico. Above the surface wind turbines can be producing electric power from renewable wind sources. That power can be brought to consumers in the same infrastructure that will bring clean burning natural gas, so natural gases and renewable energy are combined together and they can move us into the clean energy future that everyone is looking forward to.
Thank you for all the work that you're doing. I know it's a tremendous burden
to open up all these areas and do the kind of work that you have to do including the public input meetings that you're having here. Very, very important for the country. I agree with all the speakers who say we need it all.
I really don't agree with we've got the answer, it's over here and let's stop all the rest of the stuff. We really need to
use all of our potential answers moving forward. Thank you very much.
HOLLY HOPKINS: Hi. Good afternoon. My name is Holly Hopkins. I'm
pleased to testify today on behalf of Consumer Energy Alliance or CEA. CEA is a nonprofit,
nonpartisan organization composed of consumers and energy providers that has long advocated for a comprehensive national energy policy that focuses on creating a diverse portfolio of energy supplies, from wind to solar to biofuels to petroleum and clean-burning natural gas.
We represent tens of thousands of grassroots supporters across the country
and more than 110 affiliated organizations that span the spectrum of the U.S. economy--from airlines to trucking to manufacturers and restaurants to retirees and small business to a broad array of energy providers. We seek a long-term policy solution to help the United States meet ongoing and future global energy challenges by ensuring proper development of all available energy resources, long-term price stability for consumers, enhanced National energy and economic security, and a consistent regulatory structure for industry.
As many of us are painfully aware, our National economy is suffering.
Americans continue to lose jobs and steady
sources of income at an alarming rate despite attempts by Washington to stave off further economic decline. It is clear that economic and financial stability are not likely to be achieved for some time. It is also clear that we, as a nation, must do what we can now to achieve some relief for Americans. It is time that we think seriously about how developing our own energy resources might help us stabilize energy prices, create jobs and secure our energy and economic futures.
I realize how integral the oil and gas industry is to our regional economy,
as it is so to many economies around the country. About 1.5 million people are directly employed by the oil and gas industry-- with 45,000 people directly employed by offshore operations. Moreover, hundreds of thousands of others are employed by industries that rely on petroleum inputs. And, with the potential for offshore renewable energy production being explored in the new five-year plan, there are even greater possibilities for the creation of new jobs. In all, opening up the Outer Continental Shelf
for energy development would undoubtedly support our local, state and National economies. In fact, a recent study found that developing areas of the OCS could generate 1.3 trillion for Federal, state and local governments and as many as 160,000 jobs.
Further, OCS development would help more than just those connected to the
industry. It would help all consumers, retirees, persons living on fixed incomes--anyone who has carried the financial burden of volatile energy prices. As we all remember, last year's increases in oil and natural gas prices resulted from growing U.S. and global demand that was not matched by equivalent increases in available supplies. Unless supply can be increased, prices will continue to remain volatile. The MMS estimates that the Atlantic waters contain four billion barrels of oil and 37 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Future Atlantic energy exploration and production could add significant domestic supplies to help offset growing U.S. demand, which over the next 20 years is expected to grow at annual rate of
1.4 percent. And, despite a continuing emphasis on conservation and expanding renewable sources of energy, petroleum products and natural gas are projected to account for almost 65 percent of domestic energy consumption in 2025. It is important that we allow access to all of our offshore energy resources now because it will take time to develop that energy and deliver it to consumers.
Of course, all acreage to be included in the Leasing Program should be
explored and developed in a safe and environmentally sound manner while protecting the environment, local communities and other economic interests. I grew up on the beach on the East Coast and have a great appreciation for the ocean and beaches of this region and their benefit to the tourism economy, but offshore development can be properly balanced against the potential for environmental and ecological harm. Adequate environmental safeguards can and should be maintained throughout the exploration and development process for oil and natural gas and the
development process for offshore renewable energy.
While considering leasing in the OCS, we should also bear in mind revenue
sharing. CEA fully endorses OCS revenue of royalties, bonus bids, and fees with coastal states. Funding from the OCS would protect the U.S. energy supply by ensuring the economic stability of the communities that sustain the activities necessary for energy production, supply and distribution, as well as helping to improve our schools, roads and other vital infrastructure. Since 1965 Congress has appropriated revenue from the OCS to help fund hundreds of grants in various states totalling millions of dollars and preserving thousands of acres through the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The Federal government should recognize the contribution that the coast states make to U.S. energy needs by passing legislation that mandates revenue sharing with states and local communities.
In conclusion, we thank the MMS for taking the time to hear from the public
about our thoughts and concerns regarding offshore energy development. CEA wholly supports the new five-year plan and what it means for the energy and economic futures of our nation.
CEA will submit detailed comments on the 2010/2015 Draft Proposed
Five-Year OCS Leasing Program in the near future. Thank you.
JEFF UHLENBERG: I'm Jeff Uhlenberg. I'm an entrepreneur and owner of a
company. I also represent NAM which is presently 11,000 small and medium-sized manufacturers nationally and I also represent the Metal Treating Institute which is the largest commercial heat-treating network of heat treaters in the world and I'm the President of Donovan Heat Treating. I'm here today to share with you the realities of owning a business in the 21st century. True structural cost for U.S. manufacturers have increased significantly since 2003 and put them at a 32 percentile disadvantage from their competitors in nine major trading nations. According to the escalating cost
crisis study by the NAM this cost disadvantage has risen 42 percent in just three years. Manufacturers more than any other business sector face a cost price squeeze due to intense global competition. Nearly half of all United States manufactured output is traded internationally compared to only three percent of other sectors. This prevents U.S. manufacturers from raising prices despite raising domestic cost.
Example of this is within my own company. I deal in international
competition and anyone who thinks they're not international competition today you got it all wrong. Either way I quote jobs as big as a million pounds or more and my competitors require me to quote jobs within a quarter of a senttogetthejobornot. WhenIsaya quarter of a sent, not 25 cents on a dollar, a quarter of a sent of a penny. It can make or break the job.
I recently in the last few months had my top customer ask me to reduce my prices by as much as two cents a pound on over
a million pounds. You do the math.
In order to be competitive and remain competitive, I needed to -- out my
business and not that I wanted to, but even that at times isn't enough and I'm talking about loss of jobs. But the most significant area I'm affected in is energy and, again, I can speak from personal experience. The lack of affordable domestic energy supply is hitting my businesses and all businesses in North America very hard. The big picture is
intense global manufacturers, rising cost of to compete.
competition affecting both big and small, and the natural gas hurts our ability
Quite simply, the lack of affordable domestic energy supplies has hurt
my company's ability to compete, driving up the cost of manufacturing our products and this means less money to hire, retain and train workers. Profitability continues to shrink due to escalating costs. At times there's been no profits.
At one time I had a natural gas interruption that actually created a 400
percent increase of my cost of energy. This
was the first time in my 70-year company's history that my energy costs were greater than labor. As a result I had to cut my workforce in half from 37 to 18 workers and I now run a business with 10.
Manufacturing in the U.S. accounts for nearly two-thirds of this
nation's industrial research and development, three-fourths of our nation's exports and supports more than 20 million high-paying jobs.
However, manufacturers in America are suffering from escalating cost
crisis primarily due to the lack of affordable domestic energy supplies. If we hope to survive, if we hope to continue to drive innovation and the economy, manufacturers need affordable and accessible domestic energy supplies. I thank you and I thank Secretary Salazar for the opportunity to speak today. Have a good day.
DON AURAND: We're up to six, five? Five. We just did five.
JIM ROFFMAN: My name's Jim Roffman. I'm a commercial fisherman from the
Fishermen's Dock Cooperative in Point Pleasant, New Jersey. Fishermen's Dock Cooperative has been in business for over 50 years, incorporated in 1952. Fishermen all fish within the 200 mile EEZ, U.S. exclusive economic zone. I have been fishing 35 years myself. My father was a fisherman before me and his father before him. Three generations deep and my two sons fish with me. We have very serious concerns about ocean exploration and exploitation of the oil reserves that are in the mid-Atlantic and, well, the whole Atlantic Coast here. One woman just said there's four billion barrels of reserves. I've heard eight billion barrels of reserves. What I know is -- whether it's four or eight, what I know is that if you check into energy information administration statistics you'll find that this country exported 670 barrels of oil products last year. 670 million barrels. Now, if you times that by 10, that's six and a half billion barrels, okay? Do we need to be drilling out here if we're drilling our own resources and shipping them overseas? Okay. We need to expose the shell game from the oil
companies that is allowing our products to go overseas while we desperately need them here. Don't tell me there's a shortage of oil if we can export 670 million barrels, okay?
Let me touch on windmills. You've heard commercial fishermen say that
fishermen support wind power offshore. That's not true. Some of us do. Some of us don't. Personally members of the Fishermen's Dock Cooperative do not support wind power. It will impact our fishing ground. We have fishing grounds we've been fishing for 50, 60, 70 years. Every job that these windmills or oil rigs produce is one job that's lost in the commercial fishing industry, maybe more.
Offshore wind. One, it generates power at the wrong time of the year
in the winter when there's already excess of power on the grid. It then gets dumped into the system for about half of what solar power would produce in the summertime. It would be three times more expensive to maintain offshore wind, the wind power itself. It's also two to three times more expensive to create that, to site it, okay, as compared to
wind on land. Wind on land is fine. Oil drilling, you have basically a million pounds of barrel heavy drilling for each well that you drill, okay? Times that, let's say, five parts per million of mercury, every well that's drilled is dumping five pounds of mercury in the ocean which would then contaminate the seafood. Every well that's documented in the Gulf of Mexico. They don't tell you that, though. I could go on more, but I'm going to leave it for there. There's more comments from Garden State Seafood Association that will be made later. Thanks.
JULIA SHAWN: Hi. I'm Julia Shawn. I'm with the Alaska Wilderness League
and although we're very far away, I am the New Jersey field staff and I'm here today to talk about a place, although we're on the Atlantic Coast, but to talk about other special places like America's Arctic.
Like I said, I am the New Jersey representative and I'm here today to let you know that there are people all over
the country including the East Coast, including New Jersey, that care about
protecting special places, not only off our coast, but special places like the Arctic.
The Arctic Ocean, we've heard a couple people mention it today, is under
extreme threat from reckless plans for industrial development that were pushed through in the previous administration. Home to much of our nation's cherished marine life including polar bears, the endangered bowhead whale, seals and walruses and also home to subsistence way of life for thousands of years for the Yupik people, the Arctic ocean is already feeling the effects of climate change more than anywhere else in the world. We as an organization and we as people who care about our special places urge protection of this fragile unique ecosystem by suspending plans for new oil and gas-related activity until a science based comprehensive conservation energy plan for the Arctic is developed that ensures no future harm. Thanks.
DR. JANE: My name's Dr. Jane -- Thank you for the opportunity to
testify today regarding offshore energy
development. COAA strongly supports the development of renewable sources of energy if the source presents a viable and productive source of options in terms of the -- and if environmental impacts are minimum. Opening our coastline to -- even when opening -- will require a careful process that ensures environmental protection. There are many actions that must be taken prior to siting and permitting any offshore facilities, including comprehensive ecological baseline studies, risk analysis, spacial planning and the development of standard data collection methods and ecological performance standards.
First and foremost, a criteria must be developed based on ecological criteria
that will promote and maintain a healthy, productive, sustainable and resilient condition of our marine ecosystem for siting renewables and this must be established to evaluate all projects. As well sufficient baseline data must be collected to identify preferred migratory, feeding, breeding and nursery habitats for marine organisms as well as essential Continental Shelf habitats in the
MMS has acknowledged significant data gaps for the entire coastline as has Secretary Salazar in the newly released
report. And these must be addressed. There is a need for comprehensive spacial planning of our oceans to ensure proper planning of our energy, while protecting aquatic resources and other ocean dependent users.
Baseline data is critical to any marine spacial planning effort and both of
these must be completed prior to making any siting decisions. Prior to construction of any offshore renewable energy we must determine the scale, scope and extent of data necessary to accurately predict risk to organisms and habitat and develop standard protocols for the collection of these data. Initial deployments of all new unproven technologies must be limited in scale to determine viability, monitor ecological impacts and inform regulatory decisions. And all facilities should be required to achieve specific trackable and quantifiable performance standards that ensure the
protection of marine organisms and habitats. The ocean has great potential
to provide clean, renewable energy to replace dirty fossil fuel power, but development must be done with thoughtful consideration of the marine organisms and habitat that depend on a clean, healthy ocean. The step-wise process must begin with the development of environmental criteria to determine appropriate ocean dependence users and to help assess projects and which go where. These criteria would be informed by ecological baseline studies followed by spacial planning and risk analysis. Once appropriate technologies and areas for renewable development have been determined standard data collection methods, ongoing monitoring regimes and ecological performance standards need to be developed to protect and maintain our valuable marine ecosystem. Thank you.
BOB OLIVER: My name is Bob Oliver. I live in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina
along the Outer Banks, an area also known as the graveyard of the Atlantic, because of its volatile ocean conditions and hurricane alley.
Often on the coast there we often have winds in excess, a lot of the hurricanes that are there are category five hurricanes before they weaken and come ashore and I think it's very dangerous to place offshore oil rigs in those areas. Upon looking at the map out front in the lobby with the plots of the parcels of ocean off the coast, it looks something like a subdevelopment of something that could be sold off as if it belonged to individuals. I think that we need to look at those resources as though they belong to future generations as well as ourselves and that a five-year plan that's being developed should also take into account a much longer range effect and a broader outlook that lasts, because the effects of offshore drilling will last much longer than five years if there is a negative consequence.
I think it's difficult for elected officials sometimes to get behind
renewable energy efforts because of the lobbying efforts that will kick them out of office.
I'd like to see the Marine
Management Service, I'd like to see you folks take a long-range approach to this and as I look at the logo there, the revenues are on top, but the bottom thing there is stewardship and I'd like to encourage stewardship that will protect our resources and our ocean shores for a long time. The amount of jobs that would be lost and the effect on the coastal areas with a negative impact from oil washing up on the beaches, I think, is far greater than any jobs that could be created by drilling in these areas and that the tax base for all of the valuable property along the ocean coasts is something that would be considered and would be run down if those areas were damaged.
But I'd like to thank you very much for holding this meeting. I would like to see this process continue and I'd like to
see a meeting like this in every single coastal state, because I think it's a great benefit and a lot of useful information is being provided and that should be available to -- the opportunity should be available to all people in coastal states rather than just
one location. Thank you very much. MATT WALKER: Matt Walker.
Resident of Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina. I made some statements to this effect earlier. Basically I think a lot of what's been said here is sort of a ruse. The idea that we're gong to drill enough oil to support or even put a dent in our demand's pretty silly. I think the people are telling you that we are going to keep it in the country is pretty silly and I think the amount of money being produced on the coastal level by clean oceans outweighs any money that they're going to offer in revenue sharing. So basically it comes down to the oil industry gets trillions of dollars and the states get less money than they would if the beach was clean and if something happens the state gets left holding the tab and I think for the last 12 months all we've heard is putting Wall Street ahead of Main Street and here we are about to do the exact same thing by giving one of the most profitable companies on the planet another chance to make dollars and if something happens, average ordinary working people are
going to have to suffer with their jobs and everything else. The only difference between this and the Madoff scam is that we can prevent this one and see it coming and say don't do it. When it does happen, can't turn around and say we didn't see it coming, because the stock market goes down too and if we get hit, it'll happen and that's all I have to say. Thank you.
DON AURAND: Okay. We're up to number six. If you weren't here when we
started, again, we're calling you up in groups of six. This is the six, but when you come up, please, if you can remember to bring your comment card with you and she will pick it up. That way we have a sequence. The poor court reporters do the best they can with the way you pronounce your name, but it'll be a lot easier to figure out who you are if we have the cards and that's me tap dancing while Laura tries to find the card for the last gentleman and you can go ahead now, sir.
NELSON GARCEZ: Okay. Good afternoon. My name is Nelson Garcez,
G-A-R-C-E-Z. I'm representing Public Service
Enterprise Group, the energy conglomerate that distributes energy in New Jersey. PSE&G and Deepwater Wind, another New Jersey-based company have formed a joint venture called Garden State Offshore Energy to build and operate offshore wind power plants off the coast of New Jersey.
We appreciate the opportunity to be here speaking today about the
development of alternative energy resources on the Outer Continental Shelf, especially offshore wind. Our company's developing 350 megawatt project that's located roughly 16 miles off the coast of Atlantic City. If built, this wind farm will produce enough energy to supply about 110,000 homes with clean and renewable energy. We are developing this project in response to Governor Jon Corzine's energy master plan of the state to produce about 1,000 megawatts of renewable energy in New Jersey by 2012 and 3,000 megawatts by 2020. The Governor deserves a lot of credit. He is one of the key leaders in that industry.
Offshore, of course, as has
been said here, is a crucial component of our efforts to fight climate change. One of the central challenges of transitioning to low-carbon electric generation is that a large proportion of our renewable resources are not located close to the centers of high electricity demand. This is why offshore wind has such tremendous potential. It is an abundant renewable resource located close to the densely populated electric load centers of the northeast.
Completing our project we will create hundreds of jobs and we hope it will
spur the development of offshore wind industry in the state of New Jersey, including local manufacturing capabilities. Our project will utilize a deepwater technology that will allow us to be located far from the shore where it will have negative impact on coastal aesthetics.
There will be several environmental and economic benefits, but to
make that possible we need to have the clear rules of securing rights in Outer Continental Shelf, something that took about four years up
to this point. These rules, in its final form, are to be issued by Mineral Management Services, and the timing of that directly impacts the ability to start investing data collection, project development and construction. The timely completion of these rules will remove an obstacle to investment. We've been encouraged by some of the initial actions taken by Secretary Salazar leadership, including the recent announcement of possible Memorandum of Understanding with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, as well as his appearance before the Senate Energy Committee, basically saying that the final rules could be released as soon as the next two months. I think he repeated today to do that in the next 60 days. I hope he keeps the original 60 days, please.
As active participants in the offshore wind industry we have already taken
significant steps to developing offshore wind in the state of New Jersey. We open the final rules will contemplate the efforts of this and other states that have taken initiatives to seek competitive bids for legitimate
developers to begin developing their offshore wind potential.
Closing my statement, I would like to reinforce the promulgation of the
final rules. Our industry is ready to act and will be responding efficiently and expeditiously to the demands of our society for a cleaner environment. Thank you again for the opportunity to speak.
SHAWN COSGROVE: My name is Shawn Cosgrove. I'm the marine director of
the Conservation Law Foundation. We're an environmental advocacy group based in New England, with offices in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, as well as Maryland.
I wanted to thank you today for putting on this meeting. There's, obviously,
quite a bit of work into it. Very well put together and appreciate that and appreciate you all being here.
Conservation Law Foundation also known as CLF has quite a bit of knowledge
about the proposal on gas drilling in Georges Bank in the northwest Atlantic, because we
were involved in the first time that they tried to do this in the late '70s. Starting in 1977 and 1982 there were 10 exploratory wells drilled on Georges Bank and it was proposed at the time that that was the highest and best use of this area despite the fact there's been hundreds of years of commercial fishing, developed commercial fishing industry and so CLF and a number of other groups, notably the Gloucester Fishermen's Wives Association oppose oil drilling.
Upon further environmental impact studies and in research it was shown that that was the case, that oil and gas is
not the highest and best use for these areas. There's been quite a bit of talk here about the amount of oil that we need to get to make our country energy independent. It's clear that those deposits of that size do not exist in the Atlantic Coast. It's certainly clear that they do not exist in Northwest Atlantic in Georges Bank and other areas.
I'd like to talk about the need to protect ocean habitat. We often talk about
the ocean as if it looks like the bottom of
your bathtub. That's not the case. You can go up -- like the west coast, you can go 80 miles off of Gloucester, Massachusetts and find a spot that's about 15 feet deep known as Cashes Ledge. It is incredible resource, biologically productive resource, for fisheries and for ocean wildlife. If this were above the surface of the ocean, if it were on land it would be a National park. You can go 160 miles out on Georges Bank and find places 40, 50 feet deep, incredible resource for commercial fisheries and ocean wildlife. We need to assess these places and make an unconcerted effort to protect ocean habitat, Georges Bank, Cashes Ledge. The Great South Channel and Jeffrey's Ledge, a number of places, the New England Management Council has closed bottom drilling here because this is harmful to the habitat. If we need to protect ocean habitat we certainly need to protect it from oil rigs. We ask that there be no new drilling on the OCS for oil and gas development, that there be permanent protection for these areas that I mentioned. Develop assessment of current and
environmental benefits and, of course, complete the renewable energy regulations that were supposed to be completed two years ago. We are going to submit formal comments for the record, but thank you very much for your time today.
SARA STRANE: Sara Strane and I'm a volunteer with Greenpeace in New Jersey.
CHRIS NASTUCK: And my name is Chris Nastuck from Manasquan, New Jersey. I'm
also with Greenpeace and we appreciate the opportunity to testify today. We oppose offshore oil and gas drilling because of its contribution to global warming, it's harm to polar bears and other species and because of the devastating effects it could have on New Jersey's coastline which would, of course, cause a deleterious effect on New Jersey's economy.
Offshore oil drilling poses a double-barreled threat to polar bears. Oil
drilling will lead to oil spills, ship traffic, noise and all kinds of industrial disturbances harmful to the polar bears. Oil drilling anywhere off the coast of the U.S.
from the inevitable burning of the oil for energy. Global warming is a leading threat to the polar bear and the studies made say that two-thirds of the world's polar bears will be gone and that includes all the polar bears in the United States. We need a clean energy future with no fossil fuel development and if polar bears are to survive and other precious ecosystems are being protected --
SARA STRANE: We feel that it's Secretary Salazar's -- in addition to a
moratorium on offshore oil, we feel it's his responsibility to rescind the Bush Administration's illegal Endangered Species Act regulations.
Congress has given him a 60-day window of opportunity to rescind Bush's
regulations with the stroke of a pen, but as you know, this opportunity expires May 9th. These extension regulations are among the most damaging and illogical of the Bush environmental attacks. They are aimed at eliminating the consideration of global warming pollution from the Endangered Species Act review. We feel that the Federal agencies
should look at ways to reduce global warming pollution that harms polar bears just as they look at ways to reduce pesticides that harm salmon or logging that harms owls. We urge Mr. Secretary Salazar to rescind the Bush regulations before May 9th and to take oil and gas drilling off of the table.
We know that clean energy jobs like wind and solar could create more than
57,000 jobs for New Jersey citizens within the next few years. And that it's a moral responsibility to do so when burning these fossil fuels causes global warming. So we are addressing Mr. Secretary Salazar today, hopefully on behalf of you all, to use his pen to save the bears and stop global warming and we want to thank you for the opportunity to testify today. Thanks.
JOSEPH LOGUE: Good afternoon. My name is Joseph Logue and although I work
for the American Conservative Union, today I'm here speaking as an individual. I would like to start off by saying that I support wholeheartedly wind and solar energy. I also support nuclear, coal, oil and natural gas
development, especially in the Outer Continental Shelf. We are told that we are in an energy crisis. This is in fact not the case. We are actually suffering from a crisis of failed political leadership, much of which was on display today. We are told that we have energy shortages, but the United States uses 20 million barrels of oil a day and as we saw in the presentation earlier, has close to 100 billion barrels of oil in the Outer Continental Shelf. We could easily produce a million barrels of oil a day from those sources which would make a good percentage of current oil usage and do so in a few short years, not 10. The argument's that we'll have to switch from oil to renewable energy anyway, so we might as well get going on it now is fallacious. It implies that there is a global shortage of oil, but there is in fact not.
We have in the Rocky Mountains over a trillion barrels of oil in the form of
oil shale. All of that is just being -- waiting to be used. That amount of oil is more oil than has been used by humanity up to this point in history since oil was discovered
back in the mid-19th century, and all of these figures are just the numbers that we know of.
As was said earlier in the presentations that data used to make those
predictions is 25 years old and using techniques and technology also 25 years old. We had congressmen rejecting the need to conduct seismic studies and exploratory drilling. They were redirecting the need for more information. We ought to demand and deserve public policy based on the full exploration of the facts, not a rejection of inquiry.
I sincerely hope that the Interior Department makes every effort to at
least examine and explore the oil resources before deciding oil policy.
That this is even an issue is tragic and an embarrassment. We are told to
focus on renewables because they were the future. That may very well be the case. But it is important to understand that oil and petroleum products are an inevitable part of our future and they will be as far as I can see. Our obligations to increasing the
quality of life for our children demand that we leave them an America full of abundant and cheap energy. I believe this can only be done on a large energy strategy that incorporates OCS development. At a minimum we must explore. Anything less would be foolish and dangerous. Thank you for your time and I hope that you take those comments into consideration.
BENJAMIN FISHMAN: Thank you for the opportunity to testify today. My name
is Benjamin Fishman and I'm here today representing the Institute for Policy Integrity at the New York University School of Law. The Institute is dedicated to improving the quality of government decision-making by expanding the use of unbiased and balanced cost benefit analysis. Our comments today focus on the Draft Proposed Program released by the MMS service in January.
The MMS plan may cost Americans over 600 billion dollars in lost wealth. In
the plan MMS has violated basic economic principles by failing to value the option to wait to consider drilling leases. Using
estimates in the MMS report the result may be well over 600 billion dollars in lost option value for the American public. MMS is required by statute to consider the economic value of nonrenewable resources when constructing its plan to auction drilling rights offshore. In its analysis it uses the net present value formula for estimating the economic value of offshore drilling. However economists have recognized for decades that this model does not apply to irreversible decisions under conditions of uncertainty. And that's exactly the kind of decision faced today by MMS when considering extracting oil and gas at widely fluctuating prices. The result is a bias in favor of drilling too much too soon.
There are numerous models that have been developed by financial economists to
account for price uncertainty. These models are based on the valuation of options. Just as an executive may receive the option to buy stock as part of a compensation package, the United States holds the option to lease drilling rights offshore. Those executives
often wait to cash in their options and in many cases it makes sense for MMS to wait until an optimal price threshold to auction leasing rights. By leasing too much too fast MMS is selling the leases too cheaply and wasting hundreds of billions of dollars in option values. By failing to account for the potential value of waiting until these drilling rights is MMS plan essential -- sorry. This is clearly inaccurate. These options could be worth hundreds of billions of dollars. By placing a zero value on these options, MMS is extremely bias in favor of leasing too much too soon. By MMS allowing oil companies to access resources at an inefficiently rapid pace causing significant losses for the American public. Given its statutory mandate to consider the economic consequences of its leasing program, MMS is under a duty to ensure that it accounts for all economic value including options value. By failing to give due consideration to the value of the option to wait, MMS severely underestimates the wealth held by the American public in natural resources and ends up
destroying that wealth through short-sighted policy based on outdated economic models. Thank you very much.
DON AURAND: Okay. The plan was for a break at 3:00 and it's by my watch
five minutes of three, so that's probably a good time. We'll come back at five minutes after and we'll continue with the next set of comments.
(Brief recess from 2:53 p.m. until 3:12 p.m.) PUBLIC MEMBER: I think I'm up,
so I'm just going to get started. My name is Peter Gallant
(phonetic). In spite of my accent, I live in Princeton, New Jersey. I'm a managing director of Wind and Wave, which is a company in Gray Mart (phonetic), in Germany, and we are just about to put a 400 megawatt offshore wind park into the North Sea.
Living in Princeton, New Jersey, I'm getting a little tired of flying
back and forth to Germany, and seeing how the industry develops here on the east coast, I want to shift my interests from Germany back
to the United States. And I have two objectives. One
is to develop a large wind park here, offshore New Jersey and other places on the east coast, but the second thing is to -- object is to develop the supply industry so we can make these turbines and towers and generators and switch gear, we make it here in the United States. Because if you make it overseas, it doesn't really create jobs for us in the United States, number one. Number two, it creates an exchange rate problem. With this highly developed of a project, suddenly your dollar could get beaten and suddenly, your cost -- your dollars goes up and when the dollars goes up and your economics goes up, your project goes down.
I see four challenges for us in wind development. Number one is to get
sufficient revenue. New Jersey has done a very good job in developing the super cobex (phonetic). Number two is the permitting process. And that's what I want to digress on in 30 seconds. Number three is the supply of the equipment. And, again, we need to find
the ways to do this in the United States. And number four is the supply of debt capital and equity capital, which is difficult right now, in particular, debt capital, but I expect that to disappear in the next 12 to 24 months.
When it comes to the permitting, I know that's a work in progress.
I want to make one more last try to convince you to not necessarily let us
-- each project go through a separate permitting process, which always ends up at pretty much the same place. The sooner you get a permit, but it takes a couple years, it takes a lot of effort and, quite frankly, it's not the optimum way of protecting the environment, because each project has their own dynamics.
So, what I would like to propose, and I hope that it can be done, and
maybe I'm not so sure where, is that we, MMS, create an offshore wind power zoning where we --
Because we know today the impact these parks will have; noise and on
birds, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. We
know that. And we should be able to decide that we're willing to accept that impact there but not there.
Earlier, a gentleman, fisherman, said he is concerned with his
livelihood. Well, that needs to be taken into account.
If I develop a wind park in affirmative, how will we get his -- how will
we get his concerns to my thinking? It's very difficult to do. But, MMS, who has an overview viewpoint, could establish zoning, where we say look, here we're not going to put wind parks, but here we're going to put them.
And I would hope that you could give it, one more time, some consideration.
Thank you very much.
PUBLIC MEMBER: Good afternoon. I'm Kevin O'Driscoll, and I'm here to
represent the Surfers' Environmental Alliance, which is a national non-profit organization which is dedicated to a sustainable future and environmental protection.
And in particular, I'd like to speak about something that no one here has
really mentioned, unless I missed it, and that is specifically the public health.
And indeed, consumption of fossil fuels is a serious threat to public
And it is somewhat ironic, I should also point out, that we are holding
these hearings. And I want to thank you and the secretary and the Obama administration for having this forum for us to speak out. And I also want to congratulate you on intercepting this expansion of the lease program.
But, I would like to gently point out the irony that we are here in
Atlantic City, which is a gambling center. And, in fact, what this expansion of lease program is is a gamble. And by putting all of our reserves on the table, as it were, it is somewhat irresponsible and risky, because what we're gambling with is our future. And specifically, it's our children's future.
Now, I am, by trade, a cancer researcher. I'm a former professor at
Columbia University, and I currently work as a consultant to the pharmaceutical industry and
also to the environmental industries and also activist groups. That's why I'm here.
My son, who is 10 now, was diagnosed with leukemia when he was 5. And I
wouldn't be surprised if there were not -- you know, if there were one person in this room who didn't know a child who was affected by some disease, or at least know of a child.
Autism, for instance. Autism has increased in prevalence in the past 20
years by 20-fold. And we don't really know what the cause of this is. It's very likely that there is some environmental factor involved.
I'm also published in pediatric
So, continued reliance on fossil fuels and their burning pollutes the
We need to move towards a green technology. And I'm happy to see that in the
Outer Act, the Obama administration has actually increased funding for green technologies through the National Science Foundation and through NOAA. And I would
encourage future funding to concentrate in that area. Specifically, the remediation of existing environmental pollution and also, the increased adoption of more sustainable energy sources.
The Surfers' Environmental Alliance specifically is opposed to expanded
offshore drilling. We're also opposed to the liquid natural gas island facility.
And I will end it there. And thank you very much.
PUBLIC MEMBER: Good afternoon. My name is Brian Brindal (phonetic), and I'm
the director of energy and resources policy of the National Association of Manufacturers. We're the leading voice of the manufacturing economy. We have more than 11,000 members nationwide, and we represent more than 13 million workers throughout the United States. In New Jersey, we represent more than 315,000 workers.
And what this is about for us is it's about jobs. Manufacturers have been
facing an employment crisis for several years now, and this has been stemmed to a rise in
energy costs, which really began in the summer of 2000.
And prior to the onset of the financial crisis, the manufacturing sector
lost more than 3.7 million jobs nationwide. Our sector's jobs pay more than
20 percent higher than the average wage. In New Jersey, the average wage for a manufacturing job is about $65,000 a year, which is significantly higher than the average state wage.
The industrial sector uses 34 percent of the nation's total energy consumption. It is, therefore, very vulnerable to high-energy prices and
volatility. Many members, one of whom you heard from earlier, Jeff Uhlenberg, was stating that energy costs has surpassed healthcare as the highest input costs for their bottom line, which places our members at a competitive disadvantage in the global economy.
Federal policymakers can level the playing field by assuring that the
manufacturing industry has access to plenty of
supplies of affordable energy. This is especially true for natural gas, going back to what we use as a feedstock to generate not only plastics and pharmaceuticals, but we also use natural gas as a source of electricity, like most other consumers.
We support expanded access to the untapped reserves on the OCS in order to
stabilize energy prices and to manufacture employment. We believe that this can be done in an environmentally sound manner, and we look forward to working with the professionals of the Department of Interior and other state cultures to forward a plan that will expand access to these resources that are very key to a very sound economy and high-paying jobs for Americans.
Thank you very much.
PUBLIC MEMBER: Good afternoon. My name is Ed Waters. I'm the director of
government relations for the Chemistry Council of New Jersey. We represent chemical, oil and pharmaceutical companies, along with the manufacturers of flavors and fragrances and consumer products.
We strongly support offshore drilling for both oil and natural gas. We
also support the OCS plan for offshore drilling. We believe there should be a comprehensive energy plan, not a Don Quixote plan, where we're just chasing windmills. That plan should include domestic drilling for oil and natural gas as well as renewable energies.
We support the effort to increase our domestic oil supply to create
less of a reliance on foreign oil and believe that offshore drilling will have a positive impact on our national security.
The industries that our council represents are some of the largest users of
natural gas, and we use energy to save energy. We use natural gas as a feedstock, and our products are in many U.S. manufactured goods, including energy-saving products, such as insulation, solar panels, wind turbines, and light-weight vehicles.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, since 2000, the
price of natural gas has increased more than
239 percent. High-energy prices are forcing U.S. companies to move manufacturing jobs overseas. The companies that are benefiting from this move are Brazil, Russia, India, and China, where natural gas is much cheaper, and they are levering their domestic energy supplies to grow their economies at the expense of the U.S. economy.
The U.S. is the only country in the world that has restricted access to its
The chemical and oil industries are a vital part of the New Jersey and
U.S. economies, and we want to keep it that way.
Thank you. Have a nice day. DON AURAND: Okay. Number 8, A
PUBLIC MEMBER: Hi. Good afternoon. Thank you for the opportunity to
testify today. My name is Helen Henderson. I am the Atlantic Coast project manager for the American Literal Society.
The American Literal Society is one of the nation's oldest ocean and coastal
conservation groups, founded in 1961 by scientists, fishermen and divers devoted to promoting the study and conservation of marine life and its habitats, defending the coast from harm and empowering others to do the same.
Offshore energy development, both traditional and renewable, has been
controversial wherever it has been proposed. The potential for offshore
energy development is set against a growing awareness that our oceans are under increasing and extreme stress. The public hears daily stories about collapsing fisheries, threatened whales and sea birds and fishermen who struggle to go to the sea to make a living. The development sprawl devouring our landscape threatens to spill out into what is now an unbroken ocean vista with increasing demands for new uses of the ocean, particularly energy uses.
The debate has focused too much on developing new sources of fuel, whether
those are fossil fuel based or renewable, to feed an ever-increasing demand for energy.
The debate must shift more fundamentally to place greater emphasis on demand, production, efficiency and conservation.
There are unlimited amounts of energy to be recaptured from wasteful,
inefficient practices and not have to make the grim choice of industrializing our ocean and coast.
The reality is that we are being offered false choices; oil drilling or
high prices at the pump, filling the ocean with industrial wind farms or building more climate-destructive coal plants, and not enough effort has been put into evaluating conservation and efficiency. We cannot win a race against an ever-increasing demand curve.
In New Jersey, Governor Codey's Blue Ribbon Panel on offshore wind turbine development on which the Literal Society's executive director served, found that over
4,000 megawatts of energy could be captured from economically-feasible energy conservation approaches at the cost of two offshore wind farms or approximately $5 billion. This is the equivalent of eight power plants. This is
the energy path that we should follow, one which has been neglected in the rush to open the ocean to development.
The American Literal Society opposes policies to reopen the coast for oil
and gas drilling. Offshore drilling will not resolve any of America's energy issues. Spending billions of dollars on yesterday's fuel, risking our coastal economies and putting our already stressed marine environment in harm's way makes no sense.
The value of the ocean and the coast, both in terms of quality of life and
economic contributions, far exceeds the value of oil and gas extraction.
We don't support offshore drilling and industrialization of our ocean.
There is simply too much at risk, both environmentally and economically.
Are you accepting these comments today or should I --
DON AURAND: Yes. Someone from MMS will be happy to take them. Right back
PUBLIC MEMBER: Thank you for
this opportunity. PUBLIC MEMBER: Good afternoon.
I'm Renee Jones, with Conoco Phillips. At a time when the economy is
the leading national concern, it is wise that we are addressing one of the primary factors required to ensure our prosperity.
Energy is the foundation of our economy. Higher cost energy stifles growth. More low cost energy drives economic growth.
As one of North America's largest producers of oil and natural gas, Conoco Phillips is positioned to increase
production and contribute even more to energy security and economic recovery. The government can facilitate energy investment and help prevent future price spikes by making wise policy choices on taxation, regulation and access to resources.
We support President Obama's stated goal to promote responsible domestic
production. We have tremendous resources offshore of the U.S. that can be produced responsibly.
Under current policy, less than
four percent of Federal mineral acreage is under lease, and much of that is in highly mature and expensive areas; the deeper Gulf of Mexico and Alaska's offshore and remote Arctic Slope.
Conoco Phillips strongly believes energy development and environmental
protection are not mutually exclusive. We can have both.
Our industry is a high-technology business with dramatic
advances in directional drilling, better seismic imaging, new deep water development technologies, and advanced production techniques. We've met growing demand while reducing our environmental footprint. These advancements have helped the Gulf of Mexico produce three times as much natural gas as the government first estimated was possible in 1974.
Conoco Phillips strongly supports efforts by the MMS to begin a new
five year program to define the scope of domestic offshore energy development opportunities and determine the extent to
which the nation is committed to addressing its growing energy needs. A new five year program will serve as the foundation for significant investment in the jobs, technology and infrastructure throughout the nation. It will be the catalyst for significant revenue streams into the Federal treasury, state and conservation programs.
Given our fragile economy and the economic importance of energy for our
future, it is essential that we act wisely and prudently and now. Government and industry must work together to improve our national energy security and economic well-being.
We need access to reliable and affordable sources of energy.
We commend the MMS for asking for comments on all areas of the OCS. We ask
MMS to include all areas of the OCS for oil and natural gas development in the next OCS five year leasing plan. A five year OCS leasing plan that opens new areas beyond the traditional central and western planning areas of the Gulf of Mexico is an important near-term policy decision that Washington can
make to address the energy challenges now facing Americans.
number 9, A to me, like microphone.
and 10 push
Thank you for the opportunity.
DON AURAND: Okay. We're up to through F. 9? It doesn't look, you all are walking towards the
Oh, good. 9 doesn't show up each other out of the way.
PUBLIC MEMBER: My name is Carl Nistremis (phonetic). I'm an action
coordinator with Clean Ocean Action. I just wanted to say that
contrary to what someone said here today, we cannot drill ourselves out of this crisis. The potentially recoverable oil and gas off the coast is minimal, spread far too apart. Studies have shown that it will take years before this oil hits market and, therefore, there's no guarantee that this energy will be used domestically. Therefore, oil and gas drilling on the OCS is not sustainable and not a solution to our energy needs.
Furthermore, offshore drilling
threatens the $37 billion tourism industry here in New Jersey, both to businesses here and on the Jersey shore. One oil spill will cause significant economic damage to the local economy and, therefore, a healthy coastal economy is dependent on a clean ocean. It is irresponsible to threaten this coastal economy and the jobs associated with it with oil and gas drilling.
The oil and gas energy potential is minimal while the risk is too
great. Drilling off our shore is backwards policy and energy. Continue toward clean, renewable energy and reinstate the moratorium.
PUBLIC MEMBER: Hi. My name is Margo Pellegrino, and I'm a stay-at-home mom and I paddle. And, obviously, I do a really
bad job at staying at home. I paddle through small craft
advisories, swell warnings off of Rhode Island. I paddle with sharks. I've paddled in 50 mile an hour winds. Fortunately, I was in Buzzards Bay, so I couldn't get swept out to sea.
I've seen an awful lot. Also, I've seen a lot of the --
Let's see. I've seen a lot of anecdotal evidence of what has been described
in both the Pew report on the ocean and the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy, which both, by the way, say we really shouldn't be so eager to drill until we do studies about how we are going to be affecting the ecosystem.
With that introduction, I'll just say the conservation of our natural
resources is the problem. Without solving this problem, it avails us little to solve all others. That was said by President Teddy Roosevelt in 1907 in an address to the Deep Water Wave Commission. How precious he was.
With all due respect to Congressman Bishop -- I don't know if he's
still here -- conservation efforts do count. Germany is building new homes, 2,000 square foot homes, that use one-fifth of the energy that ours use.
During the peak price of gas, American drivers cut their usage by a whopping
14 to 17 percent. No one ever thought that
was going to happen. And they did that without any kind of added infrastructure whatsoever; just habit change.
Congressman Bishop may have no faith in American ingenuity, resilience and --
or our ability to rise to a challenge, but I do. Our very security depends on it.
How can we be a leader if we are constantly falling behind while the world
surges ahead in the areas of sustainable energy and conservation? Even the rich middle Eastern countries who are very oil dependent and make their millions selling oil -- and billions and trillions selling oil to us, even they are starting to look at alternative sources and sustainable sources of energy. It is a finite fossil fuel, after all.
In 2006, I came here to testify on behalf of my children. Back in 2006, we
were also told that it would take 20 to 30 years before any of this oil or gas came online for us to actually use.
So, if your business -- if your manufacturing business is on the rocks now, I
am sorry, but I don't see how it will be
existing in 20 to 30 years, when you can finally make use of this energy.
Back then, I brought up the need described in the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy for a better and clear understanding of
the complicated and multi-faceted nature of our ocean ecosystem. The premise was we should not mess up what we don't understand. Ignorance is not bliss. We have seen the consequences of our dependence on finite fossil fuels in the past, we are feeling the consequences now, and we know what problems we can expect in the future.
If AIG and GM are too big to fail, what about the ocean?
PUBLIC MEMBER: I just want to clarify something. I don't like to be
pigeonholed. I just like to look at facts. My name is John Ciser,
C-I-S-E-R, and I'm here representing the Ocean Mammal Institute, which is a non-profit research organization dedicated to protecting marine mammals and, thus, the overall health of our marine ecosystems.
What I want to talk about
specifically are the effects of seismic surveys or airguns on marine life, which need to be done to search for oil and gas and don't need to be done for windmills. And it poses a serious threat to marine life.
A growing body of evidence confirms that intense sound produced by
human-generated noise in the marine environment can induce a range of adverse effects on marine mammals. These effects include death and serious injury caused by hemorrhages or other tissue trauma, strandings, temporary and permanent hearing loss or impairment. And if you're a whale or if you're a dolphin and you're deaf, you're as good as dead, because you can't hear the fish you're dependent upon. Other effects are displacement from preferred habitat and disruption of feeding, breeding, nursing, communication, sensing, and other behaviors that are vital to survival.
But, marine mammals aren't the only victims. Three decades of controlled
scientific studies leave no doubt that intense sound hurts fish and damages fisheries. Even
the viability of fish eggs was reduced in one study when the eggs were exposed to moderately loud sound for several days.
In some parts of the ocean, airguns can be heard going off every few
seconds day and night. Airguns located 3,000 kilometers away were the predominant part of the background noise heard over hydrophones placed in the middle of the North Atlantic ocean.
In the study -- another study, McCauley and Popper exposed pink snapper to
seismic airgun sounds and found that their ears were severely damaged. The auditory hair cells did not regenerate after almost two months. This damage was seen at exposure levels that might occur several kilometers away from the sound source. The authors note the ears of pink snapper are typical to the majority of commercially-important species, such as cod, haddock, salmon, and tuna.
The authors also point out that fish with hearing impairment are more
vulnerable to predators and less able to locate food and communicate acoustically.
Popper, in a review paper on the effects of noise on fish, concludes that
current studies suggest that noise may affect fish behavior and, thereby, fisheries.
In yet another study, done by the Norwegian Institute of Marine Research,
airguns caused extensive damage to the inner ears of fish and lowered trawl catch rates 45 to 70 percent over a 2,000 square mile area of ocean. Catch rates did not recover in the five days surveyed after the use of airguns stopped.
Airgun pulses also caused a catch per unit effort decline of about 50
percent in the Rockfish (Hook and Line) fishery off the coast of California.
It is time to start paying attention to the studies showing that airguns can seriously injure and kill fish. The fact
that several studies show that fish catch rates are significantly lowered by noise from airguns indicates that increasing levels of human-produced noise in the ocean can significantly and adversely impact the food supply, employment, and economies
of our nation.
And then on a personal note, I'd just like to add, offshore drilling is
like selling the American public VCRs. It is simply outdated at this point. My generation's children are going to say to me, you watched a movie on what? Tape? The same way they're going to say to me you drove around using what? Oil?
The energy of the future is going to come from sustainable sources, simply
because it eventually must. The U.S. Department of Energy
has made it its goal to have one-fifth of the nation's electricity come from wind in the next 25 years.
Let's support offshore wind farms, not offshore drilling. Let's not go backwards here. Let's not use VCRs. Let's
support and start creating solutions to this crisis. We all want to leave the world a little better than when we got here, and this is our collective chance.
Thank you. DON AURAND: Don't let the
court reporter catch you. You almost killed her, I think.
PUBLIC MEMBER: Some of us are excited or excitable.
My name is Mike Gravitz. I work for Environment America's Oceans Advocate
and Environment America. Environment America has several
hundred thousand members, and we also work together with 26 statewide environmental groups around the country. 16 of those 26 states are coastal states. We represent the states on the Atlantic seaboard, from Maine to Florida, with the exception of Delaware and South Carolina. And so we represent a very broad range of the states that were -- whose oceans and coasts could be affected here today.
I have three points to make, and they're relatively straightforward.
The first is, let's not treat the oceans as sort of a desert. For a lot of
time, people have talked about the task of MMS as sort of counting barrels and counting cubic feet of natural gas. And what I really don't
want you to forget is the fact that the ocean contains vibrant marine ecosystems and communities all up and down the eastern seaboard. It isn't simply -- this task isn't simply a matter of figuring out where the oil and gas is and deciding whether to go to get it. It is like it is on land. Things are different. There are communities in different places of different kinds.
So, some examples of those vibrant communities: We have sub-marine
canyons. We have about 18 off the Atlantic seaboard. We have plateaus, like Georges Bank, that are very productive. We have migratory pathways that are close to the shore and very far offshore for some of these marine mammals and turtles. We have marshes, bays, protected inland waters which are very susceptible to being polluted by oil, and if they are oiled, recover very, very slowly. Witness some of the things that have happened at a spill in the salt marsh, around Cape Cod. We saw oil coming out around 20 years later.
We have countless national wildlife refuges and national seashores along
our coasts. I won't read the full list, but think about Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge, Gateway National Recreation area, Assateague Island and Chincoteague off of Virginia and Maryland. Cape Hatteras national seashore. These are really important places to protect. And in many cases, they shelter very large marshes and back bays, which, if they were oiled, would suffer greatly.
A third point. I think what we need to do, in addition to a comprehensive
study -- and you began to do this in your report. In addition to the comprehensive study of where the oil and natural gas resources are, we have to have a comprehensive study of where the biological resources, the ecosystem resources are. And I would suggest, merely, that the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric administrations spend several hundred million dollars a year on doing ocean studies. Minerals Management Service -- I don't want to be disrespectful -- spends about 20 to $25 million a year on ocean studies.
I think MMS and U.S.G.S. really do need to bring NOAA into this picture, to
use their expertise, use the expertise of the marine science section of the National Academy of Science to really do a comprehensive study of where it would be and would not be good to drill.
I would only end in closing that my organization really supports no
additional new drilling on any of the coasts of the United States. And I can explain in my written testimony why we hold that position.
Thank you. DON AURAND: Okay. We're up to
For those of you who are coming up, if you -- if you make eye contact with me
-- I've figured out a routine here only halfway into the program. But, if I stand up, that means that he has told me to tell you that you have 30 seconds. And so usually, when I say it, it's actually a little bit less. But, if we're in contact, if I stand up, it's getting near the end.
Okay. Draw a number there,
PUBLIC MEMBER: I'm Jim
Loughrin (phonetic). I'm speaking for Greg DiDomenico, of the Garden State Seafood Association, of which he was here earlier and had to leave. He represents -- and I'm on the Board of Directors of Garden State Seafood Association. It gives me the right to speak for him.
Garden State Seafood Association represents commercial fishermen
and docks, truckers, wholesalers, retailers, and so forth throughout New Jersey. Thousands of employees, basically, or thousands of people in the fishing industry.
We provide comments to the National Fishery Service on just about
anything regarding fishing and so forth and environmental issues.
Position-wise, Garden State Seafood Association, many of our members are
members of Fishermen's Energy, support wind power, but the association itself, because we have fishermen that don't support it, and myself included, we don't have a position on that, per se, except we need to take into account if there's wind development, the
rights of fishermen and access to fishing grounds.
We oppose LNG and offshore oil development as being detrimental to our
industry itself. What I specifically want to
address here is the rights of fishermen. This country was founded --
New England was settled over cod fish. Okay? 200 years before Columbus
landed, the Portuguese were fishing on the Georges Bank and landing on Cape Cod. I mean, 200 years before. To this day, a cod fish still hangs in the statehouse in Massachusetts. This industry has a long history in this country.
Now, my point here is we divvy out our natural resources. Okay? We have a
fishing industry that's been in existence here 6, 700 years, and it wasn't until 1976, with the creation of the EEZ, through the Magnuson Act, that the U.S. government decided that they own the natural resources from 12 miles out to 200 miles. Until that point, commercial fishermen, well, we had as much
right to them as anybody. The U.S. government created the Magnuson Act and said we now own everything out here, all of these resources, okay, and we're going to protect you and promote your industry. Okay? Well, they have not done that. They have not done that.
What are the rights of the fishing industry? Okay?
We have historical fishing grounds. And we have three LNG plants -- or platforms proposed for -- for them right now to literally put fishermen in Point Pleasant
and Belford out of business. Where are our rights to these
grounds? This is something the government needs to address. Okay? Where are our rights? We have been here -- we were here first.
Indians have rights. They were here first. They have rights. They have tribal rights. We have nothing. We have
nothing, and we have no agency that represents us or gives a damn about us. The government basically says hey, tough shit. Excuse me. Excuse me for that.
It's a tough position to be put into as a businessman. Because we're talking,
in New Jersey, $150 million dockside product of fish right in New Jersey. An economic multiplier brings that close to $1 billion, and that's not even touching the recreational industry. Then you start talking two, $3 billion right in New Jersey. Okay? You start talking nationwide, you're talking a hundred billion dollars in fisheries.
DON AURAND: I need you to wrap
PUBLIC MEMBER: Okay. Well,
Consider the fishing industry and consider rights. I think it's about time
the U.S. government drew up something and said yes, fishermen have rights and we're going to address that so they're not screwed.
PUBLIC MEMBER: Good afternoon. My name is Jeff Hoffberger (phonetic). I'm a
local resident here, and I represent Surfrider Foundation, Clean Ocean Action and a marine mammal conservatory whose name I'm not allowed
to discuss right now, for my own protection and theirs.
I also happen to be vice president and on the Board of Directors of a
corporation based in Baltimore that used to be in oil and gas exploration, owning numerous terminals, refineries, gas stations, all kinds of transportation vehicles, vessels on the water.
We have sold all of our interests in the past five years. This is due
to the economic, shall I say infertility of a small producer. We could not compete with the large producers, and it became, economically, not a viable concern.
I stand here today as the father of two children and someone who lives in the water -- that's a cell phone. I also
used to be a sound engineer. The waters are our most
important resource. It provides over 50 percent of the oxygen to the earth.
I was a child, as a lifeguard, as a child running around in the surf of Rehoboth Beach, Delaware and Ocean City,
Maryland. Constantly, I had to remove tar balls off of my entire body with mineral spirits. There had been a shipwreck at one point, and oil had leaked. We had a leak in the Delaware River last year. A single-hulled tanker ran over something in the Delaware going to a port where it was going to off-load its cargo.
My concern is for our children and our children's children. We cannot take
any action out in the water, be it offshore wind, offshore oil or anything, without taking the proper precautions to protect our environment.
I am pro wind. I am pro ocean current energy. I am, unfortunately for some people, who I will hear about it from -- I am
against offshore drilling for oil. I'm also against the storage of
natural gas offshore from any foreign source. We, in America, make 97 percent
of our own natural gas. We can still make more. We can drill on leaseholds that are already-existing on land without the potential for destroying the ocean environments.
That's all I have to say. And thank you for the opportunity to speak.
PUBLIC MEMBER: I'm coming up after those tall guys.
My name is John McQueen, and I'm president and CEO of New Jersey Renewable
Resources, based here in Atlantic City, New Jersey. We specialize in biofuels and photovoltaic technologies here in Atlantic City.
I come on behalf of my employees, who could not be here today because
someone has to remain to run the shop. We are in affirmation of
drilling offshore, as long as it is in conjunction with replenishment of renewable energy sources for our state.
For two and a half decades I have been promoting independence in energy for
the United States, from New Jersey to Canada, from the west coast to the east coast.
In a bid for the mayorship here in Atlantic City, I proposed a proposal that
we could, in Atlantic City, develop our own self-sustainable renewable energy source here
in Atlantic City and using all of the biomass that is produced by our casino industry.
I've listened to people come up with these wild numbers and that renewable
energy sources won't come online for 10, 12 or maybe a decade from now.
That simply isn't true. We do it now. We are a commercial renewable
producer. It's capable of being done now. We hope to be able to do a million gallons a year in two years. So, it is feasible. We can do it.
And biomass does not necessarily mean that we have to grow the
feedstock. It can be utilized from stock that has already been utilized, it has already been used, replenished. The effluent from that is also replaced and it is renewable and can be reused. So, there is virtually no waste.
I listened to some of our representatives. I can only speak about those
that are here in New Jersey. Governor Corzine, Senator Menendez and my fellow republican Frank LoBiondo, who say that they're against drilling, they haven't had to
look at an employee when he or she is crying because she or he cannot pay four or $5 a gallon for fuel to make it back and forth to work to supply the food and the necessities for their families.
What did we do during the height of the oil crisis? We opened up our
reserves, and our employees were able to get fuel, fuel up twice a week for free so that they could get back and forth to work to eliminate that burden on them.
We can do it. We can move forward. We can make it sustainable.
Gentlemen, I applaud you for what you've done.
Our elected officials are out of touch. You know, all they have to do is go
and say fill it up at the gas pump. They're riding on the public's dime. We have to go and we have to pay.
Congratulations, and I hope everything works out.
Thank you very much. DON AURAND: Okay. 13, A
12. Oh. I'm sorry. Well, we need those 12s. They're important to us, just
like everybody else. PUBLIC MEMBER: Hello. My name
is Matt Crody (phonetic), and I work with the Sierra Club, in Washington, D.C.
I'm here on behalf of our 1.3 million members and supporters, on behalf of the tourism industry that generates billions
of dollars in this state alone, and on behalf of fragile coastal ecosystems.
We urge you to make certain that no new drilling occurs in areas that were
previously protected by moratorium. On March 18th, the Department
of the Interior leased more than 30 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico to oil and gas companies. There's no shortage of areas that are open to drilling as such, and no new drilling should occur in areas that were protected.
The current administration has made clear that science should be the basis
for coastal policy, and we couldn't agree more.
Last week, Secretary Salazar announced the release of the report detailing all available resources available on the OCS.
That report continually emphasized and identified large information gaps as to the effects of drilling and exploration.
As part of the new five year plan, there should be a comprehensive study by
the National Academy of Sciences to assess current environmental baseline information on the impacts of leasing, exploration and development on ocean ecosystems and coastal economies. No new leasing or drilling should occur until that study is complete.
America's coast and marine waters provide the economic lifeblood for
tourism and fishing communities, and New Jersey is no exception. It acts as a destination for thousands of vacationing families, supports thousands of other local jobs and is a sanctuary for fish and wildlife. Offshore drilling would industrialize these coasts and greatly put at risk the communities and economies.
No matter what the energy
companies say, offshore drilling is still a dirty business. The MMS predicts that in the heavily drilled Gulf of Mexico, every year there will be at least one spill of a thousand barrels and every three to four years, at least one spill of 10,000 barrels. This is not an acceptable risk for a move that would have little to no impact on our energy prices. The only way to truly address that issue is through energy conservation, fuel economy and renewable energy.
The same report that Secretary Salazar announced made a strong
point of emphasizing the enormous offshore wind potential of the Outer Continent Shelf.
The Sierra Club strongly supports such an approach, as wind energy
presents a solution that can be implemented now as opposed to the eight to 12 years normally required to develop a new oil or gas field.
Of course, all developed wind
Developing wind energy must move forward with care. All new projects must
be responsibly sited and must fully comply with the National Environmental Policy Act.
Finally, we recommend that, as a part of the new five year plan and in the
spirit of incorporating science into policy, that certain environmentally-sensitive and economically-productive areas be completely taken off the map and be permanently protected from new development. In the Atlantic planning area, this would include North Carolina's Outer Banks, the coast of Maryland, Delaware and Virginia, Georges Bank, off the coast of New England, and the Jersey shore. Domestically, it would certainly include Bristol Bay, in Alaska, and the Pacific coast, from Santa Barbara to the Canadian border.
By all accounts, the new administration, you all are headed in the
correct direction, a direction that will create more jobs and stimulate the economy, and we hope to see this direction continue.
Thanks for this opportunity.
PUBLIC MEMBER: Good afternoon. My name is Paul Sivikman, S-I-V-I-K-M-A-N, and I represent The Silent Majority. And we can't
be silent any longer as we see our freedoms being impaired.
I rise in support of offshore drilling, of wind energy, of solar energy, of
biofuels. As some of the media have said, all of the above. I don't think we should limit our options.
I personally think that the spike in crude oil prices in 2008 was one of
the major factors in causing the current economic meltdown.
I think that marginal families, the people who got the subprime loans, who are
on the ragged edge of making their payments, had to make decisions; what am I going to do, am I going to buy food, am I going to buy gas so I can go to work, or am I going to pay my mortgage? And mortgages went, and I think that was another prick in the bubble of the real estate market.
Interestingly, when the president rescinded the executive order and
the Congress let the moratorium expire, crude oil prices dropped substantially. And, of course, they have continued to drop
substantially as part of the economic recession.
The U.S. has been held hostage by OPEC before. I might remind you of the
1970s, when we imported about 20 percent of our oil. And it created havoc when they cut off the supply. Today, we import, what, about 60 percent? Our exposure is enormous.
But, today there's another threat, and the threat is environmentalists,
who I think are just as serious a threat. You can look back at Rachel Carson and her book on DDT. We banned DDT and millions of children in Africa died as a result. Instead of finding a way to mitigate the downside, we banned it completely and millions died.
You look at -- you look at the '70s. Time magazine talked about global
cooling based on data from our friend, James Hansen, and now James Hansen says global warming, based on his data, and says that anybody that doesn't follow him should be brought before some tribunal for crimes against humanity, which, of course, is nonsense.
The environmentalists have stopped new refineries for the last 30 years,
have stopped nuclear plants, have blocked coal plants, and Henry Waxman has said we're not going to have any new coal plants.
We need the energy. Those who
In places where we've drilled, we've found that they do not dramatically
impact the environment. Only one percent of oil seepage into the seas is due to drilling activities.
They create fishing
You know, I urge you to think about not the -- not Gaia, but mankind,
because I think many of the environmentalists believe that we're an accident on this earth and not the people that -- not the -- the group that should get priority.
PUBLIC MEMBER: Hi. My name is David Byer. I'm the water policy attorney for
Clean Ocean Action. The issue I want to focus on is
liquefied natural gas. It's been brought up a number of times today by members of the audience, and I think it's something that really represents a tipping point that is not being recognized on the national stage yet and that everyone needs to take into consideration.
It's a tipping point because LNG, liquefied natural gas, is foreign natural gas. LNG terminals offshore are about setting
up importation terminals for foreign natural gas.
Now, what's important about this, why it's a tipping point, is that,
unlike oil, we're already energy independent for natural gas. 84 percent of the natural gas we consume in the U.S. comes from the U.S. 97 percent of that comes from North America. So, only three percent is LNG imports at this time.
This goes to Obama's agenda on energy in the environment, whitehouse dot gov,
his new energy for America plan. He talks about ending our addiction to foreign oil because it undermines the national security,
it cripples our economy and it ultimately leads to this addiction.
Secretary Salazar mentioned earlier this morning that we're funding both sides of the war on terror. Well, why would you go down the same path you went down with
oil with natural gas? Over two-thirds of the world's
natural gas is in Russia and the Middle East. LNG takes us in the direction of foreign natural gas. So, we need to think about heading down that path.
In addition, you know, we're seeing a huge under-the-radar flood in
applications and no one is really paying attention to these LNG importation terminals. Right now, there's eight existing terminals. 22 are approved, six of those under construction, and 16 are proposed or potentialed by the industry. So, we're seeing a flood of these applications that are going to fundamentally change our energy policy and make us more dependent on other foreign fossil fuels instead of redirecting us towards renewables and wiser forms of energy.
At the same time, the existing terminals are being drastically underutilized.
The eight existing terminals were below ten percent capacity last year.
It's not about that we need this. In fact, the U.S. government's energy
information administration says not only are we energy -- we're not only producing a lot right now, we're producing more than what we can consume at a faster rate going through 2030, reducing our total imports to three percent. We will be exporting to Canada.
So, we don't need to head down
Someone talked earlier about natural gas being a clean burning fuel. Well,
obviously, that person does not believe that CO2 is a pollutant. Because while natural gas is cleaner than oil and coal, it is still a major problem. It's the second largest source of CO2 emissions in New Jersey behind oil; more than coal, including imports, because we use too much of it.
So, we have -- We need to be not increasing
any of these fossil fuels. We need to be stabilizing if we want to meet the greenhouse gas rules that President Obama is going to set.
And that's the other major part of his energy policy agenda. And we need to
look at that.
And LNG is actually dirtier than domestic natural gas because it results
in up to 40 percent more CO2 emissions during its life cycle chain with the intensity of liquefying it, transporting it, burning gas to heat it back up, and that is --
It doesn't matter where CO2 comes out; overseas or here. It all contributes to climate changes, and it's all critical to President Obama's energy plan.
PUBLIC MEMBER: Hello. My name is Suzanna Pierce. I am a resident of New
Jersey. I'm a mother of two. I believe in energy efficiency
programs. I believe in research and development and investment in research and development to energy efficiency. I believe
in wind power. I believe in solar power. And I work for Shell Oil Corporation.
In my prepared statement today, I'm going to represent Shell Exploration and
Production Company. Shell is a major producer of
oil and gas in the Gulf of Mexico and has a significant leaseholding in the Alaska OCS.
Shell is also one of the world's largest biofuels producers.
Thank you for the opportunity to discuss the critical role of the OCS and
America's energy future. I commend the Interior
Department for holding a series of meetings and conducting a fact-based review based on the facts and not on the numbers. With all Americans concerned about jobs and the economy, the meetings are very timely.
A comprehensive energy policy is critical for our economic recovery.
We are hopeful Congress and the administration will develop a plan that
addresses today's realities. And let me highlight just a few.
First, we are concerned that our nation has been lulled, once again, into
complacency by the drop in the price of oil and natural gas, a price which I pay, my neighbors pay and my children pay. These commodities are now trading at about one-third the price we saw last summer. But, the energy challenge that dominated headlines and gripped households last year has not vanished. It is simply hidden by the current economic downturn. When the economy recovers -- and I mean the worldwide economy -- the energy challenge will return with a vengeance.
We urge Interior to take the necessary steps in the five year planning
process to provide access to raw materials our industry and our nation need to secure our energy future.
The Interior Department survey of available data on OCS resources shows that
even after more than 50 years of exploration and development on the OCS, 17 -- or 70 percent of the mean barrel of oil-equivalent total endowment is represented by undiscovered resources. More than half of this potential
exists in the areas of the OCS outside of the central and western Gulf of Mexico. Therefore, the undiscovered reserves of the OCS represents about four times the current OCS -- or current U.S. crude reserves of oil and about two times the current U.S. crude reserves of natural gas.
Second: We are concerned that the debate will default to the same old
all-or-nothing choices; either alternative energy and conservation or fossil fuels. Such a deadlock will not forward progress and secure our nation's energy independence.
The facts are clear. Growing global demand dictates that all sources of
energy and efficiency will be needed to fuel economic growth.
We in the United States do not live in a vacuum.
I have 30 seconds.
Offshore development is a critical part of the U.S. comprehensive energy
policy. Our nation should not return to a blanket moratorium. A moratorium is neither a strategy nor a solution.
Thank you very much for allowing me to make these comments today.
DON AURAND: Okay. We're up to 13, A through F.
PUBLIC MEMBER: Hi. My name is Joan Berko (phonetic). I'm a commercial
fisherman, lifelong resident of New Jersey. I fish out of New Jersey.
I'm against pretty much everything; the windmills, everything in the
ocean. I think it amounts to nothing more than ocean sprawl, overdevelopment, ocean dumping. It will alter where fishing occurs besides the migratory pathways and all the other fishing habitat.
I know, firsthand, from where we fish, we fish fish wrecks -- or shipwrecks,
lumps, rocks, stuff like that. It's going to be impossible.
And the further you put these platforms offshore, whether it be the
windmills or oil platforms or whatever, the more you're going to impact the bottom; getting these cables or, you know, getting the fuel to shore.
The closer it is to shore, then you're going to like impact like nursery areas
for the fish or you're going to impact tourism.
You won't know the long-term compatibilities. Look at what happened with
the dams out west with the salmon. You know, you might think everything is going to be all right until ten years down the road.
You've got to be able to minimize the effects, and I don't think you're
going to be able to do it in the ocean. It's not the same thing as doing it on land.
There's security, safety. How is the Coast Guard going to fly -- do search
and rescue when they fly about the same height with the helicopters as these windmills are? How are they going to come in and get people?
There's the safety in the navigation. We know from Ambrose Tower, out
in the entrance to Sandy Hook -- the ship hits it every time -- every year. They finally dismantled the thing. That's just one tower. What are you going to have when you have hundreds of thousands of these platforms out
It's going to alter wind and sea currents just from putting pilings in
There's vibration, the noise,
And they're going to draw fish to -- it's going to be like artificial reefs.
It's going to artificially draw them to fish attraction devices, so you're going to alter where the fish go.
They are a lot of money. They
There are more chances of corruption, subsidies. It's going to not be
cost-effective. Overload the power grid. All stuff you probably already heard.
I'm for nuclear power. I think
Solar panels, put them on everybody's roof.
And as a fisherman, I think you have to consider not only the energy needs,
but the food that people get from the fish and that this --
Once you destroy this ocean habitat, it's not going to be able to be
PUBLIC MEMBER: Good afternoon. My name is Greg Edwards, and I'm the president
of the Center for Policy Research in New Jersey, which is an independent not-for-profit organization. It focuses on public policy issues facing New Jersey and its residents.
The testimony I offer today is also on behalf of the National Taxpayers
Union, which is a non-partisan public policy advocacy organization that focuses on issues facing taxpayers around the nation.
The two organizations are not affiliated, but we do, from time to time,
cooperate on issues of mutual interest, and today's hearing is one such instance.
I have submitted written testimony, which I would like to summarize in
the following fashion. American citizens deserve a
Federal energy policy that aims to reduce their country's reliance on foreign energy
supplies as much as possible. American consumers deserve an energy policy that strives to maintain stable energy prices. And American taxpayers should be able to reap the benefits of a responsible use of their country's natural resources.
Expanding opportunities for offshore exploration and production of oil and
natural gas and the development of wind power serve these purposes.
Let me close by just saying that I am a native New Jerseyan. I've lived
here most of my life. I've vacationed many times at the Jersey shore. I spent three weeks once as a young teenager clamming with a cousin who did it for a living. I think the insides of my thighs are still chapped from that experience. I hated it.
That said, I say these things because I am keenly aware of the importance
that New Jersey's coast has for its economy. And I wouldn't stand here and suggest that we explore more offshore energy possibilities if I didn't think it could be done responsibly and safely.
The Center for Policy Research believes strongly that science and empirical
analysis ought to be the foundation of good public policy. And we think the Obama administration is correct in emphasizing the role of science in public policy.
And I think any reasonable examination of energy provision in this
country, offshore production and exploration and the needs of the country long-term all support some responsible use of offshore possibilities as much as can be done.
Thank you very much for this
DON AURAND: Let me --
I know that some people have come in late, so let me run through what we're doing here just to make sure that we're all on
the same page.
We have given people out numbers, and we're being -- we're calling them
up for comments in groups. So, we just finished group 13,
so we'll move on up the numbers. And, please, when you hear your number group called, then
come up for comments. So, we're to group 14, 14, A
Okay. They all heard their comments from somebody else.
15. Sir, are you a 14? PUBLIC MEMBER: Yes, I am. DON AURAND: Okay. The 15s can him. I think he might be the
PUBLIC MEMBER: My name is
line up behind only one.
Michael Drolis SEED. I'm from New Jersey as well.
The New Jersey Society for Environmental Economic Development, New Jersey
SEED, is a unique coalition of New Jersey's most prominent labor and business leaders. Our diverse membership includes labor advocates, business organizations and trade groups.
What we all have in common is certainly that economic growth and
environmental protection are not mutually exclusive. New Jersey SEED supports a
(phonetic), from New Jersey
balanced portfolio of resources and energy production with efficiency being the cornerstone of its infrastructure.
We support the development of energy production in many areas, such as wind,
geothermal and the expansion of clean energy from historic resources within our current infrastructure.
Two of our state's greatest resources are its skilled work force and our
Energy production and expansion can be the needed economic engine for our
region, particularly for New Jersey. An industry study found that 160,000 jobs would be generated in 2030 if new offshore and non-shore areas were open to development. Many would be exploration and production jobs that pay more than double the national average.
Energy exploration can lead to an expansion in our rapidly shrinking
manufacturing sector in New Jersey. It can put our tradesmen and women to work, as members of New Jersey SEED represent New
Jersey's finest building trades workers. New Jerseyans and New Jersey do
not believe in fouling our nest. We believe that smart energy production generates economic production.
New expansion of exploration development cannot occur without responsible
practices, though. It is our belief that this
expansion should be accompanied by the use of advanced technology to help ensure that energy is produced while the environment is protected.
For example, numerous Gulf of Mexico platforms were in the path of
destruction for both hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Current protection standards shut down production and probably evacuated the platforms. This occurred without any loss of life and without any significant spills.
Recent polls have shown that Americans strongly support increased domestic
energy development. 61 percent of Americans supported new offshore development, and then those numbers are echoed in our local, New
Jersey, as well. Demands for petroleum and
natural gas, paced by United States consumers, continues to increase and is only matched by U.S. reliance on foreign energies.
New Jersey SEED supports government policies that encourage energy
conservation and promote less consumption, but it's only part of the solution.
Responsibly managed, all resources, including wind within the OCS, have
the potential to balance consumption with domestic resources.
New Jersey SEED believes that any barriers to investment in our economy and
infrastructure are, by very much definition, a barrier to our economic growth. Unless we keep investing in that infrastructure, continue to modernize it and enable it to meet the increasing demand for reliable and essential service, our future economic development will be put into serious question.
Infrastructure improvement not only supplies energy, but provides thousands
of construction and permanent jobs and
millions of dollars in new tax revenues. Thank you for your time and
consideration on the views of the members of New Jersey SEED.
PUBLIC MEMBER: My name is Tom Beaty. I am the president of the Alliance for
a Living Ocean, a non-profit organization based on Long Beach Island, New Jersey, dedicated to promoting and maintaining clean water and a healthy coastal environment. I am here representing that group today.
It is clear from the survey of available data on OCS resources that extensive
seismic testing must be conducted in order to effectively evaluate potential oil and gas reservoirs, as the current data is 25 years old.
This destructive and invasive practice uses seismic airguns to map
formations on the seafloor. These airguns fire regular bursts of sound wave explosions and frequencies within the auditory range of many marine species, and the noise from these blasts reverberate for thousands of miles.
To survey our nation's coasts,
hundreds of millions of blasts will be required, harming fish, whales and other marine mammals that use sound to locate food, avoid predators, care for their young, and to navigate.
Seismic surveys using loud undersea explosive pulses have been implicated
in damage to the hearing organs of fish -- hearing organs of fish, damage to eggs that are the pride of important commercial fish stocks, harassment of marine mammals and endangered sea turtles, damage to commercial craft stocks, cause of fatal whale strandings and beaches -- beachings, and the decline in the health of American fisheries -- American commercial fisheries.
You can quote the survey of on OCS resources. However, new geophysical data, only exploratory drilling will there
available data even with this through actual be a definitive determination of the frontier area's actual hydrocarbon potential.
Exploratory drilling. For some reason, the impacts of exploratory drilling
seem to be omitted from this report. The
impacts are not good. Hundreds of thousands of
gallons of drilling muds routinely discharge toxic metals, such as lead, mercury and cadmium. The produced water contains dangerous levels of carcinogens and radioactive materials, such as benzene and arsenic.
Drilling an average exploration well for oil or gas generates some 50 tons of
nitrogen oxides, 13 tons of carbon dioxide, six tons of sulfur dioxide, and five tons of volatile organic hydrocarbons.
With the minimum quantities of fossil fuel expected from this expedition, the
risk is far too great to warrant an attempt. Fossil fuel exploration and the minimal relief it might bring is not worth the
risk. And an oil spill would destroy our economy worse than what the energy crisis might bring.
Drilling off our coast for oil and gas in this day and age amounts to a giant
step backwards. We are entering a new energy
economy. It should be pursuing clean energy solutions, like wind and solar power, and technologies that make a car go further on a gallon of gas.
The Alliance for a Living Ocean urges you to be forward-thinking and make the United States an environmental leader through
the investment in safe, sustainable and renewable energy.
PUBLIC MEMBER: Good afternoon. Thank you for listening to public comment
My name is (phonetic). I'm with the for Prosperity Institute. I also was
Jenise Seviacorn Hispanic Alliance
a worker for the Federal government for the last six years and
understand the importance of constituent services. So, I really appreciate you taking this public comment seriously.
Hispanic Alliance for Prosperity Institute represents a hundred
thousand members in all 50 states. We're a non-profit organization. And I'm submitting
testimony on behalf of them. We'd like to express our
position on MMS's plan for the Outer
Continental Shelf five year leasing program. We would like to make the following points clear.
We urge Materials Management Services to include access to all areas of the
Outer Continental Shelf for oil and natural gas development of domestic resources.
We encourage you opening up new areas for the development of additional domestic oil and natural gas resources. HAP Institute represents
Hispanic small businesses and consumers, and we are interested in seeing continued opportunity to develop energy supplies right here in America.
Increased energy supplies have a direct impact on consumers and their
pocketbooks. This goes directly to helping our small businesses keep costs low and prosperity high.
We see the need to expand as an opportunity that must be embraced now. We
believe that a vibrant oil and natural gas industry is essential to the long-term growth and vitality of the national economy.
We encourage policies that expand domestic oil and natural gas production
and resist policies that restrict exploration and production or increases in taxes.
With many of our members struggling to make ends meet, both at home and
at their small businesses, now is the time to implement policies that will provide relief without delay.
On behalf of Hispanic consumers and small businesses, we ask for your strong
leadership on this very important matter. On a side note, I'm also a
military spouse, and my husband just served two tours in the Middle East.
And as with the gentleman who had the USMC cap, that this is also a national
security issue. Thank you so much.
PUBLIC MEMBER: My name is Mat Toenniessen. I do a talk radio show on WOND
here, a political show.
My calls are running 80 percent in favor of offshore drilling.
I don't think anybody here from outside the area has a clue that there is
support for offshore drilling. It seems, to me, that's, maybe,
since there's so many environmentalists here that probably don't understand what it's like to have a real job, so I think what's going on here is --
And I know the people hissing are you guys. All right?
So, you know, you've included in your report, saying renewable energy
sources appear more attractive. Well, right out here you have some of the most unattractive things in Atlantic City, is windmills. They're also economically unattractive, and they're not going to solve any of these problems.
It's ironic to me that that is what you're calling attractive. 23 miles
offshore it's impossible to see an oil rig. It's a physical impossibility to see an oil rig 23 miles off the shore.
You go to -- I've been -- I've driven through 47 of the
lower 48 states by car. I refuse to go through Arkansas because they gave us the Clintons.
But, what is -- what I've seen
When I lived in California, you
come out of the desert and all you see into, out of these great desert areas, environmental desert out there, is you wind farms out there, and they're ugly get-out.
You go to Louisiana and Alabama, they handled the oil industry
coming the see the as all
fantastically down there. You've got -- people have to
get outside the city and go around the country and see the things as they are, not how they wish they were.
This myth of global warming, the junk science that's being used in this is
unbelievable. It's a religion. And people are tired of this. We're being beamed down
this over and over and over again when all you're doing is raising the price of gas, of oil. You're not allowed to have nukes. You're not allowed to do anything you want to do to get a supply here in this country because every time you turn around, there's an environmental whacko stopping you.
We have to stop this and use common sense. And that's something that's
missing now, is common sense. It's funny how, you know --
You know the people, again, who were hissing were the people who are against
any solution other than stopping and making this man versus animals or man versus environment. We have a right to be here. We have a right to live and prosper.
PUBLIC MEMBER: Hi. My name is Christian Regan (phonetic), and as you can
see, I'm a 12 year old. I go to Northfield Middle
School. My mom actually took me out of school today early so I could come here and see all of these comments.
The first thing, I don't believe in offshore drilling. Okay? I don't
actually know all of the facts about everything, but I do know it does harm the environment, and why would you want to hurt what's right outside your door? Okay?
I think you should teach my generation, okay, to conserve, to be riding
their bikes to school instead of being driven. And if they are being driven, drive at least somewhat gas-efficient cars. I mean --
And let's conserve energy at home. That's one of the big reasons. Right?
People here are always saying let's focus on the future, the future. Well,
when I'm taking my kids to the beach 20, 30 years from now, they're not going to be alive. So, they're only thinking about when they're going to be alive. What about my generation, too? So ...
Why would you want to make the shorelines vulnerable for holding oil out in
the middle of the ocean? Well, people are always saying that terrorists are going to attack inland. If they attack out there and
destroy the oceans, then it's a double hit for them. Okay?
I want, 20 years from now, to be able to fish, surf, whatever with my kids
on the beach and not have to be dodging trash. Okay? I want my grandchildren and even their children to have the same beach and earth that I have right now. Okay. Maybe not the trash-polluted one, but maybe even a nicer one.
Throughout today, I've watched one of the oil executives sneering at each one
of the people that got up and spoke about the environment. I can only ask him: Do you have grand -- do you have children, grandchildren?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: I have no grandchildren.
PUBLIC MEMBER: Well, it's their future, too. Okay?
Thank you for allowing me to speak today. Okay.
Maybe I'll start my own coalition of students. Okay? We are the
generation that makes things happen. Okay? Thank you for allowing me to
DON AURAND: Okay. We're up to 16. Okay. Is there anybody in 16, A through
F, that wants to follow this? Okay. There's a hardy soul.
PUBLIC MEMBER: Good afternoon. My name is John Degeni (phonetic). I'm from
Sea Isle City, lived there my
just south of here. 31. I've whole life. I'm the guy in the back who didn't hiss at what he was
hissed. And I saying; I hissed at the fact that he said I didn't have a real job.
I actually have two of my own businesses that are dependent on a clean ocean. I have a bed-and-breakfast and a
property management company that I -- I help maintain homes that are rented out for vacationers.
So, I also understand the importance of low oil prices, because most of
the people that come down to Sea Isle are from New York and Philadelphia. And we see a drop when the gas prices are four to $5 a gallon, and it's disturbing. But, we see a bigger
drop when trash and oil wash up on our beaches.
Down in this place, we have ten weeks, sometimes, to make our money. When you
lose one or two of those weeks because of something like oil washing up, which has happened, or tar balls washing up, which has happened, or oil spills, which happen, they happen, it's unacceptable.
But, this is really more about the offshore drilling. That's what we're
talking about. I kind of feel a lot of people get away from that.
I do support wind farms. I don't support the drilling.
I know wind farms have their downfalls, too, but very much the lesser evil.
Listening to all of this --
I mean, I have a degree in economics and business administration from
Flagler College, which is on the beach down in Florida. So, I'm familiar with the whole coast.
And I understand what people are talking about when they throw numbers and
statistics around. I also understand that a lot of statistics are lies.
But, what it me is a simple analogy that our energy policies and the
comes down to for America is -- and way that we've
been going reminds me of a four or 500 pound man running a marathon. And these oil rigs that they want to drill for are like a person at the end of that marathon throwing a thimble of water at him and thinking you're doing that guy a favor. You're not. It's not enough. He's going to pass out from, probably, dehydration. And that's the way I see it.
So, it's simple. And, you know -- and maybe we just need to lose some weight,
stop eating so much energy. Thank you.
PUBLIC MEMBER: Hi. My name is John Venizano (phonetic). I live in Jackson,
I just want to say that I, like millions of others, support offshore drilling.
It's an essential part of the United States economy and defense. And without it, airplanes won't fly and the Air Force won't
fly. Trucks, trains, buses, cars, everything will grind to a halt. So, the only offshore --
The only spills that -- are great spills in the ocean are the spills from
tankers bringing oil from foreign countries. Thank you.
Gordon. I'm a
DON AURAND: Okay. We're up to
PUBLIC MEMBER: I'm Alice long resident of Atlantic City. A relative of mine invented a
bit for the oil industry, and he was against nuclear waste being dumped on -- in Nevada. I think if he were here now, he would be 100 percent against drilling in the ocean.
I saw some drilling on the beaches of California, and the sands were
Shell came here quite a number of years ago, and we had tar and everything on our feet. They said well, they can put it out
Many countries have gone to war about shortage of water, and now California,
especially Sacramento, are facing shortage of water.
We may need desalinization of our oceans to provide water.
Human beings cannot live without water. Our first priority is water.
I don't think that we should drill in the ocean.
I am from a family --
When I grew up, we had a Cadillac and a Ford, and no one around our
area had -- except our relatives had automobiles, and everybody was happy. They walked to work, walked to school. And soon, everybody -- those people started getting a little money, and they moved to the suburbs and needed automobiles.
My family are in the sales of automobiles. My grandfather started over a
hundred years ago. My grandfather was a resident of New Jersey over a hundred years ago.
But, even our family --
My brother once said there's going to be too many cars. Every family has
-- each person has a car. And it seems like our mode of living has changed.
Nevertheless, automobiles are very convenient, but it's been the fact the
move -- people have moved to suburbia and, therefore, need to have a car to go to work, go to church, go to everything else.
I don't think that we need to drill in the ocean. I am for --
I've been promoting wind energy and solar energy, but there is a situation and
concern in the ocean. Will they destroy our natural resources?
I think that there needs to be a careful study and not leave these people in
Texas make more money selling oil. They got a lot of -- of state money, which they didn't deserve and they still want more and more and more and more.
I think that we don't need ocean drilling.
DON AURAND: Okay. I'm guessing that that might have been the last
person who has taken a numbered card.
So, why don't we take a ten minute break? And we'll come back and see if
there's anybody else. So, ten minutes. (A brief recess was taken.)
DON AURAND: What we would like to do right now is find out if there is
anybody else who has come in in the last ten minutes or so that registered to speak.
If there is anybody, would you hold up your hand?
Okay. So, we have a proposal that we would like to present to the group. We're here this evening, but there was a break scheduled for dinner. If
there are any comments, we'd like to hear them now on a proposal to break now and come back at 6:30, which would be a half an hour earlier than we were supposed to come back, and see if there's anybody who has come in, and then take their comments.
The registration area will be staying open. There will be somebody in
there. So, if somebody shows up, they won't think we've all gone away and disappeared.
But, how do you all feel about
that? Is there any discussion on it at all? Yes, ma'am.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just got a call that there are two people on their
way up from the parking lot. DON AURAND: Okay. We will
wait and --
you want to --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, do
DON AURAND: Sure. That's fine. And if --
How does it sound, though, if there's nobody else after we get done with
So, we'll wait a few more minutes for them to get up here.
Ma'am, will you make sure and go in and get a speaker card and sign in so that we have their information? Thank you.
(A brief recess was taken.)
DON AURAND: Okay. Our last two speakers for this particular session are
here, and so if we can all come back together, why we'll take the last testimony.
For the two of you who just
came in, you get your own personal instructions.
Once you get settled, one of you, whichever one wants to go first --
actually, both of you can get behind the first microphone, and, when you come up, give your little card to Laura there. And then you've got three minutes. And I will be sitting here, and when I stand up, that means you've got 30 seconds left.
Okay. On a more serious note, you have to state your name, and if you are representing an organization, just what the
organization is. PUBLIC MEMBER: Okay. My name
is Scott Thompson. I am a Monmouth County, New Jersey resident, and I speak for myself as a father of three. And I am also involved with an organization called paddle out dot org, and we represent a grass roots organization that is very active with water quality issues at an extremely grass roots level.
My reason for being here today is to take a couple of minutes just to speak
on behalf of those of us that enjoy the ocean, that have lived in New Jersey for more than 50 years, who are multi-generational in their aspects of enjoying the ocean, enjoying what the ocean has to offer, and why we feel as strongly as we do about preserving the ocean and not supporting any industrialization.
I've been a surfer and enjoy that as a recreational activity for 44 years.
My son, Tyler, who will testify after me, has also been a surfer. He has two
other brothers. And we also fish, and we enjoy the water very much.
We feel that it's important for the MMS service and for anyone else that's involved regarding this decision that they
consider alternative energy options, and those options should not include any offshore exploration or drilling of any kind.
We also feel very strongly about any efforts towards doing land-based
alternatives to not only save the water quality currently, but for the future and to also preserve any natural species that currently take place aquatically in the areas
that are of concern. I appreciate your time. Thank
you for staying. And enjoy the day. PUBLIC MEMBER: My name is
Tyler Thompson. Following my dad, I also
represent paddle out dot org, which, as he had mentioned, is a grass roots organization. I also represent my friends, my family, my brothers, everyone that's my generation that couldn't be here. I know there was someone that spoke earlier that was younger than me, which was great to see.
I also want to thank you and everybody else for waiting for the last two to
get here to say what's on their mind. I recently have had the
opportunity to become the chair for the next generation committee for Clean Ocean Action. And the past 25 years I've grown up with that organization and have seen all the hard work that they have done and, while I was growing up, be able to have the opportunity to help stop ocean dumping off of the New Jersey coast as well as the whole east coast.
I think that anything that is done in the ocean from this time forward would
be a major step in the opposite direction. All the hard work that we've done to make the ocean cleaner, make it safer for not only fish and the different animals and organisms that live in the ocean, but anyone that uses the ocean, whether that be fishermen, kayakers, surfers, swimmers, tourists.
I think you would have a tremendous negative impact on the ocean,
whether it's oil rigs that are going to be put off the coast, liquefied natural gas facilities that are going to be put off the coast.
I think that we have to look towards the future and look at renewable
sources of energy. We don't want to be dependent on fossil fuels, whether that's foreign or domestic. It's not the way to go. And I just think doing this would have a negative impact and it would not be positive for anyone involved.
so thank you.
And that's all I have to say,
DON AURAND: Okay. Has anyone else come in in the interim that wants to
speak at this point? If not, I throw out the idea yet again that we would break now and come back at 6:30.
Quite frankly, I can't tell you what you'll find at 6:30. You know, I have no idea if someone is going to show up that wants
to make a comment or not. But, we will be back here at 6:30, unless there's any objections or comments.
Okay. I'll see you at 6:30. (An evening dinner break was taken between 5:05 p.m. and
6:32 p.m.) DON AURAND: Okay. Good
evening. This is the beginning of the evening comment session.
There were a couple of people who were here earlier, but let me run through
what the rules are, just briefly, and then we'll get started.
What we have been doing all day and what you guys saw the tail end of is we've
been giving out numbered cards. And I
understand there's five of you who just recently signed up, so we'll take you A, B, C, D, E, in that order.
You get three minutes. We have
a timer. I'm not going to be too it at this point. We did have -- We had well over a people this morning, so we really
hundred had to be
careful about that. Having said that, we do have to
stick to pretty much the three minute thing, because we don't want to have a different process for the evening than for the rest of the day.
So, once we get started, why we'll just call you up, and you can make your
comment. It's not -- Oh, yes. And when you come up,
just give your card to Laura, because that's how we match up with the registration.
There is a court reporter who will take a transcript down, and the
transcript will be given to MMS. I'm not going to run through
the Power Point on how to behave because
there's not that many people here and you don't look like you're going to be really unruly. So, we'll skip that.
But, let me do share one thing with you. If you do want to submit written
comments or electronic comments, you can go to the website, WWW dot DOI dot gov backslash OCS. And there are instructions there for how to submit written comments. Alternatively, if you have written comments with you, you can give them to Brad, who is sitting right there.
Okay. So, with that as an introduction, if we can have 18 A, and we'll
Oh. I'm sorry. I didn't --
This is the MMS panel who will be receiving your comments. They're not going
to answer any comments that you might have tonight, but Chris Oynes is the associate director for Offshore Energy, Jim Kendall, second in, is the chief of the Environmental Division. Renee? Orr is the chief of the Leasing Division. And Harold Syms is the chief of the Resource Evaluation Division.
So, I'm sorry for interrupting you. Go ahead.
PUBLIC MEMBER: Hello. Hi. My name is Denise Renone (phonetic), and I am a
New Jersey public teacher. I teach at Southern Regional High School.
And I grew up on one of the 18 mile long barrier islands of New Jersey,
called Long Beach Island. It's a beautiful island if you ever have the chance to get there.
Of course, you know, what you read in the papers and what you see out there
with the oil drilling is above alarm. And, of course, you hear many different rumors.
At this point, you know, with the information that we have, I'm opposed to
oil drilling. And my opinion with that would be any damage that it could do to our shorelines that we've worked so hard to make our shores clean, especially in the last 15 years.
Growing up as a child on the island, I had many weeks in the summer where
the beaches were shut down because of sewerage
and hypodermic needles, and even more recently, just last year, you know, we had weapons, bombs on the beach from World War I and II that washed up from the ocean onto the sands. So, these are concerns of mine.
I'm not particularly closed-minded at all to wind, but, obviously, you know, would like to, obviously, know more
And that's, basically, my major
And I'm here speaking for the Science Department of my school district and for various representative people as well of
Long Beach Island, as well and businesses. And for us, the biggest issue
is, if you're familiar with New Jersey, which I'm sure you are, our shoreline is one of our greatest economic resources.
And from what I read, hearing the minimal amounts that could be out there,
the risk far outweighs the profit. And that's generally where I would stand right now.
Thank you for listening. DON AURAND: 18 B.
PUBLIC MEMBER: Hi. My name is Chris Renone (phonetic). I'm a commercial
fisherman out of Barnegat Light, New Jersey. I own a commercial fishing boat.
And I'm totally against offshore drilling and the liquefied natural
gas storage facilities that are being proposed.
I think the wind energy is a much smarter choice. We constantly have wind offshore, and it would be much less impact on
the environment and on the fishing grounds. You know, we saw what happened
in Alaska with Exxon. Those guys are still -- still have plenty of mess out there to clean up. And we definitely don't want to see that for our beaches, because tourism is a major, major producer of money for New Jersey and a lot of our coastal regions around here.
And, you know, I rely on fish, and oil would definitely kill the fish stocks
that, you know, we tried so hard to rebuild by conservation and just with a clean ocean; how they've been doing such a good job keeping our beaches clean. We'd like to keep it that way.
Thank you. DON AURAND: 18 C. PUBLIC MEMBER: Hi. My name is
Jim Coyne (phonetic). I'm a resident in Chatham, New Jersey, in central New Jersey.
And I'm a proponent of drilling. And I think the reason for it is we
need energy independence. I think we're in a situation where it's either a light dimmer or a light switch, no pun intended, that you really need to transition from coal and gas and oil energies.
I am open to moving towards nuclear and solar and wind, but I think, in
getting there, in making that transition, it's necessary that we keep the oil drilling available.
And I think, to be a realist, it is necessary strategically, because we need it for our country's security -- pardon me for
that -- you know, to fuel our military. And then tactically, for
economic reasons. You know, it's not very long ago that we had gas prices at four or $5 a gallon. And to prevent that kind of thing
again, we need to continue to drill. It is safe. I think,
statistically, most of these spills, like the gentleman before us talked about, is actually from the transportation of the oil from some of the different countries that we get it from today. So, it would actually make things a little bit safer for the waters.
Secondly, it's available. We have more of it available than, you know, the
media would let us believe. The independence, as I
mentioned, you know, the countries that we get it from are generally countries that don't like us a whole lot. And again, that touches back on our safety.
And again, for our own economic well-being, it's absolutely necessary.
And again, I'm a tree hugger as much as the next guy, but I think, to make
that transition, offshore drilling is a necessity.
Thanks very much. DON AURAND: Okay. 18 D. PUBLIC MEMBER: Yeah. I'm just
a taxpayer that lives in Linwood. And I'm on the fence. What
I've heard is there's not enough oil out there to really endanger the beaches, which have a high value as far as tourists are concerned and bring a lot of money into New Jersey. Why should we risk the beaches for a little bit of oil? I understand it's like only half a year. Now, that's not going to give us energy independence. I don't care what that guy said.
If you put windmills out there, windmills have a problem. When the wind
stops, you get no energy. That means you have to have a backup power plant for it. Actually, the windmills are considered to be about 40, 50 percent efficient, because you have some down time for maintenance and so forth.
Secondly, you've got a tremendous expense bringing that electricity in from the sea, into the land, on the grid.
You have to lay down a new grid. Now, that's expensive.
So, to me, if you want power,
you ought to solve the power with nuclear reactors. If you read the books, they're clean. Chernobyl only had about 30 deaths. They had more diversity in that land out there than when the humans were there. I guess us humans took care of the wildlife.
They built a terrible reactor. It only had a tin shed as a containment. They
had some guy who was a politician, not a physicist, and he tried to put the reactor out with water. Well, he had a big steam. It blew the whole thing up. You throw mud on it if you want to put it out.
We were the developer of nuclear reactors that were the best in the world, and we gave it away. We have to --
If we build nuclear reactors now, we've got to buy the stuff from other
I understand Japan has a nuclear reactor the size of a telephone pole;
about 12 feet high, and can service about 10,000 homes and lasts about 20 years.
Now, what are we doing? Are we doing nothing? No. We keep blocking.
You mentioned radiation. I might as well go into that.
Right now, in this part of the world you're getting about 3,000 roentgens per
year whether you like it or not. It comes from the sun. You go into the medical, they give you x-rays, they give you ERIs -- or MRIs. You get more radiation from that than you probably do from the background radiation. Some people in the world get as much as three -- 30,000 roentgens a year. It doesn't bother them. They figure the human being can go up to a hundred thousand roentgens a year before they start having trouble. So, what is it that we're afraid of? I don't know.
We've got gas and oil fighting nuclear reactors, I suppose.
DON AURAND: Sir. Could I get you to give your name for the record? Your
PUBLIC MEMBER: Oh. Ehret, E-H-R-E-T, Page, P-A-G-E.
DON AURAND: Okay. Thank you,
PUBLIC MEMBER: I'm Kathy Savini, from Egg Harbor Township.
I just came out as a taxpayer, because I'm in support of drilling. I feel
like the Environmental Protection Agency has sold us a bill of goods and given us a lot of false information.
I strongly believe in drilling. We have the resources. We need to go get it.
I agree with 18 C back there; that, you know, we -- we just made this a
whole political issue that is so wrong. And I think that the Valdez
accident was, like you said, a transport situation.
Drilling in Texas has always been good. Nothing has come of that. No harm
has come of that. And I don't know how much
supply is out there off the Jersey coast, but I feel like the information that's -- a lot of the information we're getting is false information. It's not to the -- because they don't want us to -- the powers that be don't want us to drill.
So, as a taxpayer, I'm here to support it, because it will lower our gas
prices, it will create jobs, it will create stability in the market, we're not as dependent on foreign oil, which we desperately need to get away from.
just for those
benefits to it
So, that is why I'm here. And few obvious benefits -- I think there's too many to not go after it.
DON AURAND: Okay. As far as I know, that's the only people who have signed
up since the break. Is there anybody else? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know
you're going to think this is really not funny, but there are two people who are on their way. Not the same two people.
DON AURAND: Okay. What I was going to say was that we would -- we will
break now until they -- okay. We're going to take a break until they come, and then we'll reconvene.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi. I don't have a number. I spoke this morning.
Would you allow me to just say something real briefly? Yes? No?
DON AURAND: Yes.
PUBLIC MEMBER: I'm approaching the microphone.
It's just an observation on
Again, my name is John Weber. I work for the Surfrider Foundation.
The radio stations throughout south Jersey, as I drove in here this morning,
the news report was that there's the secretary, Salazar, is here and there's a public hearing on offshore wind. That's what the news said this morning all across south Jersey.
I want you to take a look at this audience right now. There's not that
many people here. And I believe that if they had the report accurately, that it's on Outer Continental Shelf, which includes oil and gas and possibly wind development, it would be a whole different thing.
I believe that people, oh, wind, that's cool, I like wind, I'm going to
stay home because they don't need me to come out and say yeah, wind.
If the report was this is about oil drilling in the Atlantic, from Maine to Miami, there would be a lot of people here.
So, just an observation on --
The media got it wrong, and I think that's why we have what we have. Which
is nice, though, because I get to go home early and so do you.
DON AURAND: Okay. I did see two people come in. Were those the two people
you were waiting for? No, they were not. Okay. So, we are expecting two
more commenters. So, we're going to just recess until they show up.
(A brief recess was taken.)
DON AURAND: For those of you who have just arrived, let me run through very
briefly how this has been working today. When you registered, you were
given a number. Had you been here for the afternoon session, we ran through, I don't know, a hundred different numbers.
And we take people in the order in which you signed in. So, if we continue --
Brad, do you know if we continued with the 18s or did we start up
again with the 19s? You have an 18? Okay. Afew--afew
guidelines. I'm not going to go through the whole presentation that we had for speakers during the day. I'll try to remember the things that I forgot the last time I did this.
If you have a cell phone, please shut it off.
You will have three minutes to make your comments. There is a person timing.
I will tell you when you get to 30 seconds left and then when you get to three minutes.
I realize that there aren't very many of you here right now, but this was
the protocol we used for everybody else during the day, and it's only fair that we use it for everybody this evening.
So, what we'll do is --
I believe there's one number 18 left. So, if you would come down and make
your comment first. Then we'll call up the
You need to come down to the front microphone. And when you come down,
Laura is sitting there next to the desk. You need to give her your speaker card.
Please identify yourself by name and whether or not you represent any
organization, and then feel free to make your comment.
For those of you who were in the room before, I'm going to just real
briefly point out that the four people who are up at the table represent the MMS panel. They're not going to respond to the comments, but they're here to listen to what you have to say.
There is a transcript being taken that will be given to the MMS.
Let's see. And if you should want to make written comments, you can do so
on the Department of Interior website, WWW dot DOI dot gov backslash OCS.
So, thank you, sir. PUBLIC MEMBER: Thank you very
I apologize for the delay in getting here, and I appreciate everyone's time
and consideration regarding this matter. My name is Todd Thompson. I
live in Fair Haven, New Jersey. I'm a lifelong resident of New Jersey. I'm also a lifetime member of the Surfrider Foundation, and also a member -- active member of the Surfers' Environmental Alliance.
I am here, representing myself, as a concerned citizen.
Drilling for oil in the ocean is not -- in my opinion, is not good for the
environment. History proves that the economic hardships and environmental damages caused by these spills don't justify drilling in the ocean and the problems that it has caused in the past.
The oil companies, if they are going to drill in the ocean, should have to
use up the balance of the available leases that they already have in other parts, I believe mostly in the Gulf of Mexico.
We should change to renewable energy sources, such as solar, wind, wave,
tidal, and biodiesel. I believe that the technology is there to do this.
Now is the time to invest in the future and not in the past. And we all, I
think, want to do the right thing for ourselves and our children and our children's children, and I think we need to look to the future.
Thank you for your time and
DON AURAND: Okay. So, we should be into the 19s now. So, 19 A.
There isn't anybody who has an 18 anywhere out there, is there?
Okay. 19 A.
PUBLIC MEMBER: Hello. My name is Terrence Wackilwick (phonetic). I'm a
lifelong resident of New Jersey. I grew up all the way, Sandy
Hook, and now I live here in Brigantine. So, I have, basically, covered all of New Jersey.
I grew up on the coast my whole life. I was very fortunate to go to college
at Hawaii Pacific University, in Hawaii. I brought back here -- I moved back here, and my
best friend is starting a next wave for Clean Ocean Action. And I, basically, was all about it. What exactly is it about? And what Clean Ocean Action is --
I forgot to mention, I'm speaking for myself and Clean Ocean Action.
The most interesting yet stupid thing I found about what our government is
interested in is the offshore drilling. Fuel fields so hard to find and -- very hard to find, basically from Maine all the way down to Florida. How are you going to
be able to find this? That's my real question.
Smaller than the Gulf of Mexico. Sure, we have them there. According
to the Minerals Management Service, the amount of oil and natural gas potential in the Atlantic, from Maine -- like I said, from Maine to Florida, lasts from only 229 days and 162 days, respectively. So, why search? It's a dead cause. Why are we so desperate for that?
It kind of goes along with what Todd said. We have so much technology right
now, it can easily be used for tidal wave and solar energy.
Thank you very much. DON AURAND: Okay. 19 B. PUBLIC MEMBER: Good evening.
It looks like the other half of the team dropped out.
I want to thank you very much for the opportunity to make this presentation
this evening. My name is Jim Leone (phonetic). This is my lovely wife, Debbie.
We came out this evening because we thought it was very important for
us to make some input here. We're both retired educators.
We've put in over 65 years in the public school systems of New Jersey.
We are also partners with our son in a small restaurant further down the
coast here. And, as you know, these are very difficult times.
We don't ride surfboards, we don't picket, but we feel very strongly that
now is the time to consider drilling offshore. We've traveled our country.
We've gone on the Gulf coast. We haven't seen any damage from any oil well on the Gulf coast, and it's my understanding there are over 4,000 of them.
We have researched the background of offshore drilling. And in order
to keep our business alive, people are going to need fuel to get to the Jersey shore, and we see no reason why -- to discount offshore drilling.
If you want to, put a windmill or a solar panel on top of an offshore oil
rig. That would work, too. Thank you very much.
DON AURAND: Is there anyone else who has a speaker's card?
Okay. We're going to wait approximately ten more minutes and see if
anybody else shows up. So, I guess this be the exception to my no talking in the auditorium time. So ...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can
Are you going to post any on the for and against on your website or
comment on like earlier, what the stats were on for and against? Is there any chance of that?
DON AURAND: We haven't been
I mean, I suppose you could go through the transcript, when we get it done,
and figure that out, but we haven't been keeping that.
Yeah. And there is a webcast that's still available from this morning.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Okay. DON AURAND: That involves -- Yeah. The secretary actually
did ask, at one point, who represented what interest group, and you can see a show of hands in that.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Okay.
DON AURAND: Okay. I'm not going to stand here and stare at you guys. So, you know, talk amongst yourselves, and
we'll give it ten more minutes. (A brief recess was taken.)
DON AURAND: Okay. If we can
come back together, we'll try yet again to make sure we get through all the comments.
Very briefly, for those of you who just came in, you were given a speaker
card. And we'll call you up in sequence. I'm going to run through -- I
apologize for those of you who have heard this a number of times -- a few rules.
You have three minutes to make your comment. We do have a timer. When it
gets close to the end of the three minutes, I will tell you that you have 30 seconds left. I realize there aren't that many people here now, but that was the procedure we used all day long when there were a lot of people here. So, to be fair to the previous commenters, we need to stick with the same rules.
When you come forward to make a comment, Laura is sitting down front. Come up
to the front microphone and hand her your speaker number card. We're keeping those in order so that we can figure out who everybody is.
There is a court reporter taking a transcript that will go to Minerals
Management Service as a record in a public hearing.
And on the podium are three -- or four individuals from MMS who are here to take your comments, but won't be responding.
So, it's a comment for the record. But, they are, to my immediate left, Chris Oynes, who is the associate director for Offshore Energy. Next to him is Jim Kendall, who is the chief of the Environmental Division. Then Renee? Off, who is the chief of the Leasing Division, and finally, Harold Syms, who is the chief of the Resource Evaluation Division.
So, what are we up to? 19 D.
We've already had 19 C, right? So we're at 19 D. Okay.
PUBLIC MEMBER: State your name and organization?
DON AURAND: Right. If you could state your name. And if you're
representing an organization, indicate what that is.
PUBLIC MEMBER: Okay. My name is Bill McCurdy (phonetic). I'm a lifelong
resident of Ocean County. I'm representing myself and my wife, Kim, in the back.
I'm actually a science teacher, middle school science teacher. I've been
doing that about ten years. And I don't usually get butterflies when I get up in front of my classroom, but I've got them today because it feels like that this is probably one of the most important small public speeches I've ever given.
I've had the opportunity to learn marine sciences at the University of
And like I said, I'm currently a science teacher. And my role as a science teacher is to educate the youth and let them
know different ideas for energy, which I do in a non-biased way. So, when we look at energy independence and we see what's sustainable about that -- and I like vocabulary. So, the word "sustainable" is something that it's supposed to last not forever, but for a long period of time that can regenerate and be reused.
And independence is something
that we fought for as a country and gained many, many years ago.
I feel, as a marine scientist, as an educator, that this sort of energy
independence idea of not using sustainable energy, but using technology that's been around for a very long time, drilling for oil, drilling for gas offshore is the wrong thing to do.
I feel that we've learned a lot of lessons from our ocean; the ebb and the
flow of the tides. When a structure is permanently
attached to the bottom of the ocean, it has a tendency to not move until a storm or something else knocks it down. I feel that this is old technology. This is not independence. This is dependence on a fossil fuel source that is not sustainable. I feel that this is a way of our current economy to continue to be fed and not for us to change the ideas of our energy and resources like other countries have.
Now, I'm a part-time organic farmer, and I've learned that sustainable
energy, such as solar energy -- and we're learning more about it here in the U.S., such as solar farms, is much larger in other countries than here. They're reaching their goals of sustainability independence, where we aren't. And we are the largest power source in the world.
I'm feeling that we're not showing our true teachings. I believe that
we're not showing how we should truly show independence.
The idea of having a structure, like I said, permanently fixed where the
source of what we're looking for, oil or gas, is limited, to put the time and the tax dollars into a structure like that, where possibly it will only be used for a short amount of time, the environmental impacts it will have on the ocean floor as well as the environmental impacts it will have on the construction and/or the replacement of, if it does last longer, and what happens to it when we no longer use it. Do we abandon it or do we try to reconstruct the ocean floor around it? Those are a couple questions I have.
Again, I'm an educator, and I wanted to show my children that I haven't had
yet, and my students the true words of what sustainability means and what energy independence means.
Thank you. DON AURAND: So, next would be
PUBLIC MEMBER: Hello. My name is Lauren Enmarcazi (phonetic). I work for
the Long Beach Township Beach Patrol. And I grew up at the Jersey shore.
And every job that I've held since I was able to work has depended on our
tourism industry, which is one of the many things that would be greatly affected by this type of non-renewable energy source.
We don't know the full effects, the full negative effects on marine migratory
patterns or the risk of hurricane effects. My job and many others, most of
our state income would be greatly affected if there was some type of spill or disaster. Half of our coastal communities would be out of business.
And this is not a very good example of moving forward towards a future of
non-sustainable -- non-renewable energy. Sorry. I'm a really bad public speaker.
If we hope to rid our dependence on energy sources such as this one,
we need to put our efforts, our tax money and our energy into making that happen today, not wait for it tomorrow, not use old technology and the old ways that we're trying to move away from. We need to move toward something more ecologically friendly, something that will not risk so many jobs and the life that
energy, as And that's
a -- okay.
place home. I am against non-renewable
are many people that I work with. what I wanted to say.
DON AURAND: 19 F. Do we have
PUBLIC MEMBER: I am 19 F.
DON AURAND: You probably didn't hear the instructions, but I think it
would probably be okay. You've got three minutes.
State your name and who you represent. If you
get close to the three minutes, I'll -- PUBLIC MEMBER: I probably
My name is Fred Cornice (phonetic). I'm an Atlantic City resident.
I was looking at the news tonight, and I understand that the politicians
in our state are against offshore drilling of gas and non-renewable sources of energy. But, at the same time they say they're against this here, they do not streamline the regulations that you need at the local level or at the state level to get renewable sources of solar, wind power. They don't streamline it. They make it more complex. It seems like the everyday Joe on the street cannot -- and I emphasize cannot -- go out there and get a permit to do these things, or if you do try to get one, the bureaucratic complexities forces you to go through an authorized dealer or whatever kind of dealer you want to call them, and the authorized dealers are -- I think they're political hacks for the state that are paid off by, you know, getting these contracts.
In fact, this building right here -- this building right here was paid for
by some of the tax dollars to have their solar panels put up here. As a matter of fact, I think it was 50 percent tax dollars and the rest was the Convention Center's money. I don't understand why this has to be.
The prices are jacked way up high for these sources of energy. I mean,
they are high. You're talking about, for the average home, 23, 28, $30,000 for an average size home to get solar panels put on. Who can
afford that? The the state pays -- the 50 percent of what is the deal?
prices are elevated because gets 50 percent of it, pays it. Is that the deal or
That's all I have to say.
DON AURAND: Okay. Is there anyone else who has a speaker number?
Okay. Well, thank you very much. That concludes the presentations for
We really appreciate you all coming. I know MMS and the secretary feel the same way, but I've got to tell you were a good
crowd to work with. I appreciate the fact that you were constructive and, you know, regardless of what your views were, you were positive in your interaction with the others. So, that makes my job easy, and I do appreciate it.
Thank you for coming. (This public hearing concluded at 7:29 p.m.)