Local Politics

State Republicans proclamation on offshore drilling

Posted July 3, 2008

July 2, 2008

WHEREAS, America is confronted with an energy crisis, the price of fuel continues to rise, creating an economic strain for working families and a threat to our economy and National security; and

WHEREAS, higher gas prices over the last year have increased the expense of operating a family vehicle by an estimated $2000 per year per vehicle thereby reducing the funds available to working families for food, clothing, shelter, recreation and other items; and

WHEREAS, the duty to protect the American people from foreign supply manipulation and economic dependence upon terrorist states rests with the United State Congress; and

WHEREAS, to date there has been no Congressional action to effectively address the current energy crisis and develop a comprehensive long range energy policy; and

WHEREAS, the Peoples Republic of China, under license from Cuba, is already engaged in exploration for oil and gas off the coast of Florida; and

WHEREAS, most oil producing countries upon which the United States relies for oil and gas have no interest in the wellbeing of the people of North Carolina or the American economy, and

WHEREAS, consistent with the law of supply and demand, a commitment to an increase in the domestic supply of gas and oil would stabilize the market and help reduce the cost per barrel; and

WHEREAS, there are currently vast quantities of crude oil and natural gas beneath the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, in the western states, and offshore under the outer continental shelf; and

WHEREAS, approximately 270 million acres of the Atlantic Offshore Continental Shelf is managed by the US Minerals Management Service and currently affected by the drilling moratorium; and

WHEREAS, on November 17, 2000, the interests in the last remaining 8 natural gas and oil leases in the Federal waters offshore North Carolina were relinquished by Conoco, Shell Offshore and OXY USA; and

WHEREAS, the US Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972 requires all Federally permitted coastal energy activity on the Offshore Continental Shelf to be consistent with the adjacent State’s coastal management program to the maximum extent practicable; and

WHEREAS, the NC Division of Coastal Management appointed an Ocean Task Force to examine ocean resource issues, and the Coastal Resources Commission adopted the Task Force’s recommended changes to the State’s coastal energy policies (15A NCAC 07M.0400), which were put into effect under executive order by Governor Hunt; and

WHEREAS, conservation is an important part of an overall energy policy but only part of the solution; a comprehensive answer to the lack of supply and high prices should include an increase in domestic production and additional domestic refining capacity; and

WHEREAS, there is currently a Federal moratorium prohibiting drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf (45 to 100 miles offshore) which would end with the passage of the Deep Ocean Energy Resources Act of 2008, or other similar legislation; and

WHEREAS, the Manteo Prospect is located about 45 miles northeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina in Federal waters on the Outer Continental Shelf; and

WHEREAS, the distance of sight to the horizon from a height of 198 feet (focal plane of lighthouse lense) atop the Cape Hatteras lighthouse is 19 statute miles; and

WHERAS, all 21 units over the Manteo Prospect were actively leased for exploration by the Minerals Management Service between 1981 and 1983; and

WHEREAS, Chevron reported potential hydrocarbon reserves of nearly 1.5 billion barrels of oil or equivalent gas in the Manteo Prospect, which would make it one of the largest domestic hydrocarbon discoveries since Prudhoe Bay, Alaska;

WHERAS, geochemical analyses of Atlantic OCS exploratory wells indicate that hydrocarbon source rock for the Manteo Prospect would be more likely to generate natural gas rather than oil; and

WHERAS, Mobil estimated that the Manteo Prospect could contain as much as 5 trillion cubic feet of natural gas (833 billion barrels of oil equivalent), a volume that the US Minerals Management Service concluded could be present given the size and reservoir characteristics of the prospect; and

WHEREAS, advances in geophysical imaging technology have increased the ability to better define reserves and advances in drilling and production technology have decreased the impact to natural resources; and

WHEREAS, the royalties generated from OCS hydrocarbon revenue are distributed to the adjacent States and contribute tens of millions of dollars in revenue; and

WHEREAS, the State of North Carolina will realize significant revenues from the sale of offshore leases, and those funds could be used, in part, to address various environmental and coastal preservation concerns including wetland and estuary restoration; and

WHEREAS, additional positive economic impact of energy and energy-related industries within the hydrocarbon-producing coastal States contributes is also realized through jobs, taxes, and investment; and

WHEREAS, the people of North Carolina expect their federal elected officials to act in a manner that will help solve the long term energy needs of our state and ameliorate the negative economic impact of high gas prices.

THEREFORE, we the undersigned members of the North Carolina Senate request that the North Carolina Congressional delegation take action on this issue, including:

  1. Open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and outer continental shelf for oil exploration with appropriate restrictions to promote environmental conservation,
  2. Pass the Deep Ocean Energy Resources Act of 2008, or similar legislation consistent with the above, and submit it to the President before the end of this session
  3. Encourage domestic energy production to reduce the dependence on foreign sources
  4. Encourage domestic refining with reasonable regulatory constraints
  5. Use a portion of new Federal revenues generated from lease royalties to fund a comprehensive research and development program on feasible and effective energy alternatives and long term energy independence.
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