Manchin Leads Robust Discussion On Offshore Energy Development And Offshore Leasing Programs

Manchin highlights use of offshore revenue for LWCF, praises investments in offshore renewable energy development, emphasizes need to focus on mitigating safety and environmental risks

May 13, 2021

To watch a video of Senator Manchin’s opening remarks, please click here.

To watch a video of Senator Manchin’s questioning, please click here.

Washington, DC – Today, the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held a hearing to examine offshore energy development in federal waters and the federal offshore leasing programs. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), Chairman of the Committee, highlighted the significant role offshore oil and gas production plays in providing revenue to state and federal programs, like the Land and Water Conservation Fund – which was fully and permanently reauthorized when Chairman Manchin’s historic Great American Outdoors Act was signed into law last year.

“Offshore energy development on the Outer Continental Shelf, or OCS, produced an average of $3.27 billion annually in revenue for host states and the federal government over the last 5 years through royalties, rents, bonuses, and other fees,” said Chairman Manchin. “But let me be clear - every state and county in the country has benefitted from OCS revenue through the Land and Water Conservation Fund, for which we secured $900 million in permanent annual funding along with addressing deferred maintenance on our public lands in the Great American Outdoors Act last year. These programs will preserve our majestic public lands for generations to come.”

Chairman Manchin also expressed optimism for the Biden administration’s efforts to increase development of offshore wind energy and highlighted the need to ensure efficient and timely permitting processes are in place for so development is possible. In addition, Chairman Manchin emphasized the need to be certain that safety and environmental risks are addressed and questioned the witnesses on what steps have been taken to ensure disasters like 2010’s Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill never happen again.

“We’re having this discussion almost 11 years after BP’s Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill. That accident had enormous financial, environmental, and human costs and it’s important to keep in mind that 11 people lost their lives. Captain Holmes, have we been able to put in place measures since then so that we don’t have another incident like this? What type of equipment or technology has been approved?” asked Chairman Manchin asked.

“We’ve improved since then. We’ve written over 250 new standards to improve how we do our different processes across the board. We’ve developed newer and improved technologies to improve how we’re able to drill, how we’re able to mitigate, and how we’re able prevent blowout preventers [from failing]. We’ve learned a lot of lessons about what worked and what didn’t work,” said Captain Russell Holmes, Director, Center for Offshore Safety.

The hearing featured witnesses from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, the State of Louisiana, Center for Offshore Safety, and Arena Energy. To read their testimony click here.  

To watch the hearing in full, please click here.