On behalf of the millions of members of our organizations, thank you for your efforts to draft climate change legislation that promotes clean, renewable energy.
We are writing to urge you to exclude revenue sharing from new offshore oil and gas drilling from your climate bill. Instead, we ask that you focus on increasing opportunities for renewable energy development consistent with the protection of wildlife and ecosystems; promoting energy efficiency and conservation; and prioritizing for scientific research that ensures offshore energy development decisions are based on sound science and protect marine ecosystem health.
Additionally, the inclusions of proposals to encourage states to accept new offshore drilling through federal revenue sharing would be counterproductive. Taking resources from the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) – which is owned by all Americans and is not part of any state – via state revenue sharing, and dedicating the revenue to just a handful of states, is unfair. To make additional OCS revenue sharing budget-neutral, Congress would have to either raise taxes on all Americans or cut worthwhile programs.
We also urge you not to include language that would limit National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review for seismic surveys or other oil and gas activities on the Outer Continental Shelf. Allowing massive projects, such as seismic surveying of the OCS, without even considering the potential impacts of those actions could lead to a host of unforeseen and irreversible consequences to the human and marine environment.
The United States should envision a future with affordable, carbon-free energy, a healthy environment and freedom from our unsustainable dependence on fossil fuels. Part of this effort must include an emphasis on development of carbon-free technologies, including offshore and land-based wind power and solar power, consistent with the protection of wildlife and ecosystems, and the development of a meaningful national renewable electricity standard.
There is not enough oil off of our shores to make America energy independent or reduce gas prices. But new offshore drilling could pollute and damage coastal ecosystems and billion dollar coastal economies. Instead of expanding offshore oil drilling, responsible climate legislation should focus on innovation and investment in clean, renewable, carbon-free energy that creates jobs and protects our coastal economies and ecosystems.
Thank you for your leadership on this issue. We look forward to working with you to build a clean energy future for our nation.