Letter urges Interior to ensure proper lease development
July 23, 2008
Washington, D.C. – Rep. Gene Green (D-Texas) and other Members of Congress urged Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne to ensure oil and gas companies continue to diligently develop land leased from the federal government in a letter sent today.
“Exploration of domestic oil and gas fields is an important component of any sensible plan to bring down energy costs,” Green said. “In order to get the most out of our country’s rich natural resources, we should continue to properly develop millions of acres already leased for exploration.”
In the letter, Green acknowledged that leasing land for potential exploration is “only the first step” in a five-to-over ten year process towards potential production. He also said exploration is an expensive proposition with no guarantee that oil or natural gas will be found. He also reiterated that under current law, leases must be surrendered back to the government if they do not begin producing within a specified term.
“We believe that all laws and regulations regarding federal leases should be properly enforced, and we urge the Department [of the Interior] to provide the oversight necessary to ensure that federal leases are being diligently developed,” Green said in the letter. He also asked whether the Interior Department believes leased land is being properly developed according to federal law and Interior regulations.
The letter was also signed by Reps. Solomon Ortiz (D-Texas), Gene Taylor (D-MS), Jim Costa (D-Calif.), Nick Lampson (D-Texas), Don Cazayoux (D-La.), Dennis Cardoza (D-Calif), Ruben Hinojosa (D-Texas), Charlie Gonzales (D-Texas), Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), Ciro Rodriguez (D-Texas), Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-Texas), and Neil Abercrombie (D-Hawaii).
Green is the leader of an informal “oil patch” caucus of Democratic members of Congress who represent oil- and gas-producing districts. He supports increasing domestic energy production by allowing exploration and drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the Outer Continental Shelf.
Green has also advocated selling oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, developing alternative sources of energy such as hydrogen fuel cells for cars, and improving conservation efforts in order to bring down energy costs and reduce the United States’ reliance on other countries for energy needs.