America’s Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) is one of its greatest single strategic assets. For decades, across multiple administrations, this asset has been underutilized to the nation’s detriment. As BOEM initiates this process to develop the 2017-2022 Leasing Program, it is important that the entire OCS be considered for leasing. BOEM should continue to include existing areas in Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico currently available for leasing under the current 5 Year Program and should also make new areas in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Eastern Gulf of Mexico available for leasing.
We urge BOEM to evaluate and consider all planning areas and not prematurely eliminate any areas with potential resources at this stage of the process. Preemptively removing any areas at this initial stage would be inconsistent with the process established in the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act and would represent a tremendous missed opportunity. Such an action would be premature and given the long lead times necessary for offshore development, could undermine U.S. energy security for decades to come.