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PRESS RELEASE: Heartland Institute Experts React to Department of the Interior Opening up Offshore Drilling

January 5, 2018

“The Trump administration recognizes fossil fuels are the lifeblood of the U.S. economy, provide high paying jobs, and benefits the nation as a whole” - H. Sterling Burnett

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On Thursday, the U.S. Department of the Interior announced it will seek to allow offshore drilling. This proposal would be the largest expansion of offshore oil and gas drilling in history. Areas targeted for exploration and possible drilling would be the Pacific Ocean, the eastern Gulf of Mexico, the Eastern Seaboard, and over 100 million acres in the Alaskan Arctic.

The following statements from education policy experts at The Heartland Institute – a free-market think tank – may be used for attribution. For more comments, refer to the contact information below. To book a Heartland guest on your program, please contact Media Specialist Billy Aouste at and 312/377-4000 or (cell) 847/445-7554.

“With Secretary Zinke’s exciting plan to unleash America's offshore oil and gas potential, President Donald J. Trump is leading the United States forward in a successful quest for world energy dominance.”

Tim Huelskamp, Ph.D.
The Heartland Institute

Dr. Huelskamp represented Kansas’ 1st District in the House of Representatives from 2011 to 2017.

“During the eight years of the Obama administration, a nation trying to become independent of Middle Eastern oil was deprived of that possibility - namely by placing more and more of its vast off shore oil deposits off limits to the detriment of industry and the public.

“At last President Trump is righting this disastrous policy and granting the nation the use of our valuable natural resources. President Trump should be commended for no longer kowtowing to the demands of the green lobby, which wishes to deprive citizens of the world’s most inexpensive fuel and farmers from their plants’ primary fertilizer - carbon dioxide – which is their ‘breathe of life’.

“It’s time for the public to understand that utilizing fossil fuels has no negative impact on the environment.  They don’t affect the temperature of our planet, and they do improve the standard of living of every American.”

Jay Lehr
Science Director
The Heartland Institute

“Even as Al Gore claims a cold winter is exactly what we should expect from global warming, President Trump ignores this nonsense and proceeds with his America First Energy Plan.  The move to allow offshore drilling is a profoundly positive policy that will benefit all Americans. Thank you Mr. President.”

Fred Palmer
Senior Fellow, Energy Policy
The Heartland Institute

“This is great news. One more step in President Trump’s plan to make American energy dominant. The Trump administration recognizes fossil fuels are the lifeblood of the U.S. economy, provide high paying jobs, and benefits the nation as a whole.

“Though the dividends in terms of oil produced may not be paid for years, starting the exploration and leasing now, means more oil and gas will be delivered in a timely fashion to keep the economy humming along as production from existing platforms in the Gulf, off the coast of California, and the Arctic decline over time.”

H. Sterling Burnett
Senior Fellow, Environment & Energy Policy
The Heartland Institute
Managing Editor, Environment & Climate News

“According to the International Energy Agency, there is a continued large-scale need for investment to develop a total of 670 billion barrels of new resources to 2040, mostly to make up for declines at existing fields rather than to meet the increase in demand. Developing offshore resources will be crucial to meeting this goal.

“Offshore oil production is a large part of American oil production, with the Gulf Coast producing approximately 1.5 million barrels per day, which is approximately 17 percent of total U.S. oil production.

“It generally takes several years before offshore oil fields can be developed, therefore the Trump administration is giving energy producers the option to explore for oil and gas reserves and develop leases should high oil prices return in the coming years and decades.

Isaac Orr
Research Fellow, Energy and Environment Policy
The Heartland Institute

“Once again we see good things from Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke. With yesterday's announcement, he took the next step for developing the National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program (National OCS Program) for 2019-2024, which proposes to make over 90 percent of the total OCS acreage and more than 98 percent of undiscovered, technically recoverable oil and gas resources in federal offshore areas available to consider for future exploration and development.

“The Draft Proposed Program (DPP) includes 47 potential lease sales in 25 of the 26 planning areas – 19 sales off the coast of Alaska, 7 in the Pacific Region, 12 in the Gulf of Mexico, and 9 in the Atlantic Region. This is the largest number of lease sales ever proposed for the National OCS Program’s 5-year lease schedule.

 “As this moves forward, we should see economic growth, new high-paying jobs, and increased energy security.”

Bette Grande
Research Fellow, Energy Policy
The Heartland Institute

Ms. Grande represented the 41st District in the North Dakota Legislature from 1996 to 2014.

 “Realistically, opening an area for ‘drilling’ that has been closed for decades, really means starting the process of evaluating the resource potential of an area using state of the art seismic data. It is in the interest of any nation to have an accurate assessment of offshore energy reserves. To incentivize industry to start the process, there must be the opportunity to actually capture the resources via drilling if the seismic data and geology indicate the potential reward is worth the cost. At a minimum, the Trump administration is doing the right thing by initiating that process.

Joseph Leimkuhler
Vice President, Drilling
LLOG Exploration L.L.C.
Policy Advisor, The Heartland Institute

“Opening up offshore oil and gas drilling will be a boon to the American people. It will not only be several times more cost effective than wind and solar energy, it will enable our energy industry to increase the exporting of fuels.”

Walter Cunningham
Apollo 7 astronaut and author
Policy Advisor, The Heartland Institute

“Being true to its goal of energy independence and energy domination, the Trump administration provides the mechanism for this goal by opening up the nation's vast store of oil and natural gas in offshore waters.  This will create thousands of high paying jobs, billions of dollars in taxes and royalties, and makes America an energy provider for nations unable to supply themselves.

James H. Rust
Professor of nuclear engineering (ret.), Georgia Tech
Policy Advisor, Energy & Environment
The Heartland Institute

“I wholeheartedly applaud the proposal to increase off shore drilling. In light of the enormous uncertainties surrounding the CO2 - global warming link, U.S. energy independence should be this country's top priority.”

Arthur Viterito, Ph.D.
Professor of Geography
College of Southern Maryland
Policy Advisor, The Heartland Institute

Tim Huelskamp served as president of The Heartland Institute from 2017 to 2019.
Jay Lehr is an internationally renowned speaker, scientist, Senior Policy Advisor with the International Climate Science Coalition and Senior Science Analyst at CFACT.
H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D., is the Director of the Arthur B. Robinson Center on Climate and Environmental Policy and the managing editor of Environment & Climate News.
Frederick D. Palmer is a policy advisor for energy and climate at The Heartland Institute.
Isaac Orr is a policy fellow at the Center of the American Experiment on mining and energy issues and a policy advisor for The Heartland Institute. @thefrackingguy
Bette Grande is a State Government Relations Manager at The Heartland Institute. Prior to coming to Heartland, she served as a North Dakota state representative from 1996–2014, representing the 41st district. @BetteGrande
Walter Cunningham was the lunar module pilot on Apollo 7, the first manned flight test of the Apollo Program to land a man on the Moon. Cunningham is a member of the Astronaut Hall of Fame and a Policy Advisor to The Heartland Institute.
Professor of Nuclear Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology (ret.), Climate Change and Energy
Arthur Viterito is a Professor of Geography at the College of Southern Maryland, and has previously held positions at the University of Pittsburgh and the George Washington University. He is also a policy advisor with The Heartland Institute.

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