America / Energy

Ongoing Discussion of Offshore Energy Production

On Monday, March 5th the House subcommittee on Energy and Mineral resources conducted a hearing regarding offshore energy potential in the US. Recent debate over the keystone pipeline has occupied much of the president’s attention in terms of energy policy, but there is a very strong push by businessmen and environmentalists alike, pushing for greater production, of United States offshore energy.

Offshore energy production pertains to oil drilling in the Gulf as well as erecting wind farms off the eastern seaboard. Chairman of the committee, Doug Lamborn stated that the Obama administration currently has many federal lands under strict lock-and-key. If accessed, these oil and gas rich areas could help provide almost 2 million jobs annually, as well as a cumulative 37-year increase in GDP of approximately $14.4 trillion. Wind energy companies interested in production offshore also have to jump through many bureaucratic hoops.

Witnesses as well as committee members expressed the need to strive for sustained energy production despite sequestration. Energy production and wind energy subsidies are GDP boosters and cannot be compromised. In the words of Representative Doc Hastings (R-AK), “the administration needs to get out of the way.” This is a critical time for this nation as well as the progress of energy production and innovation.

The witnesses present fervently support increased activity in offshore energy production in one way or another. These representatives are advocating for the sake of the welfare of their business and American jobs as a whole. Cory Kief, the director of business development at Crosby Tugs, LLC advocated on behalf of his business’s interest in the Gulf. Crosby Tug provides transport and machinery for oilrigs. So very basically, the more rigs there are in shallow water, the more business potential they have. Construction of more oilrigs however goes beyond one business’s profit margin; thousands of jobs would quickly result from more activity in the Gulf.

Offshore energy production is in the interest of more than businesses associated with the oil industry. Bob Mitchell CEO of the Atlantic Wind Connection testified as well. The Atlantic Wind Connection objective is to create a subsea transmission line that connects oceanic wind farms together. This project would increase renewable wind potential as well as energy efficiency and reliability. If successful this project would produce approximately 20,000 new jobs. Once again Mitchell’s message is basically the same: if the US utilizes offshore energy production much economic good will come of it.

It is vital that lawmakers are smart about funding and allocation of the little money available. Sequestration seems to be a necessarily evil, however energy production is crucial to economic recovery and job production. The private sector has the drive and means to make significant strides toward this goal and the government needs to support this progress, not weigh it down.