Barrasso: Oil & Gas Production on Federal Waters Helps Give America Energy Independence & Keeps Energy Prices Affordable

May 13, 2021

Click here to watch Ranking Member Barrasso’s remarks.  

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), ranking member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources (ENR), delivered the following remarks at a full committee hearing to examine offshore energy development in federal waters and leasing under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act.  

The hearing featured testimony from Ms. Amanda Lefton, director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management at the U.S. Department of the Interior; the Honorable John Bel Edwards, governor of the state of Louisiana; Captain Russell Holmes, director of the Center for Offshore Safety; and Mr. Michael J. Minarovic, chief executive officer of Arena Energy. 

For more information on witness testimony click here. 

Senator Barrasso’s remarks: 

“While Wyoming may be landlocked, we have much in common with states that have oil and gas production off their coasts. 

“Like western states, the states of Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, and Alaska understand the importance of federal oil and gas production. 

“Jobs in the offshore oil and gas industry pay well above the average state and national wage. 

“These are jobs that lift families out of poverty and put children through college. 

“Oil and gas production in federal waters also generates a critical source of revenue for the federal government and states. 

“Oil and gas production in federal waters supports the Land and Water Conservation Fund and the National Parks Maintenance Backlog Fund. 

“This funding enables the Department of the Interior to preserve some of our most treasured landscapes for generations to come. 

“Oil and gas production in federal waters also supports coastal restoration projects, which are especially important to Louisiana and other Gulf Coast states.  

“In Fiscal Year 2019, oil and gas production on federal land and waters accounted for 22 percent of our nation’s oil production and 13 percent of our nation’s natural gas production. 

“Like oil and gas production on federal land, production on federal waters is essential to America’s energy and national security. 

“It has helped the United States become the largest oil and gas producer in the world. 

“It has given us energy independence from our nation’s adversaries. 

“And it has helped keep energy prices affordable for American families and businesses. 

“While states in the West, along the Gulf coast, and Alaska all recognize the importance of federal oil and gas production, the Biden administration does not. 

“In January, President Biden imposed a ban on new oil and gas leases on federal lands and waters. 

“This isn’t a ‘pause’ or a ‘review’ – it is a ban with no end in sight.

“To make matters worse, there is no justification for President Biden’s ban. 

“Oil and gas production on federal land and waters is subject to some of the most stringent regulations in the world. 

“Ending oil and gas leasing on federal lands and waters will do nothing to address climate change. 

“As Secretary Haaland admitted during her confirmation hearing, a ban on oil and gas leasing on federal land and waters will not reduce global oil and gas production. 

“A ban on oil and gas leasing will simply push production to other countries. 

“That means fewer jobs for Americans, less revenue for states and the federal government, and more imports of foreign oil. 

“To that point, in this very room, in this very committee, Senator Murkowski noted a few weeks ago: ‘Russia is providing more oil to [the United States] than Alaska is currently.’ 

“This is unacceptable. 

“Subjecting American families to the whims of Russia and countries in the Middle East is not an energy policy. 

“President Biden’s leasing ban must end and it must end immediately. 

“Today, we are going to hear from John Bel Edwards, the governor of Louisiana. 

“Like Wyoming, New Mexico, and other western states, the people of Louisiana face deep uncertainty from President Biden’s actions. 

“Governor – thank you for your willingness to travel here and testify before us today. 

“My friend, Senator Cassidy, will do a full introduction of you shortly. 

“Finally, I want to thank all the witnesses for appearing before us today. 

“I look forward to your testimony.”