East Coast states gearing-up for a push to develop “energy” on the Outer Continental Shelf.
Just days after California lawmakers rejected a proposal that would have approved the first new offshore oil leases in state waters in forty years, industry organizations are lining-up on the East Coast to tout the economic benefits of offshore oil and gas development. According to a new report (pdf) released by the Southeast Energy Alliance—a consortium of utilities, oil and gas companies, manufacturing associations, and major power purchasers—North Carolina alone could receive up to $577 million annually in revenue sharing payments from offshore energy development.
But even though the Department of Interior recently reported that the shallow coastal waters of the Mid-Atlantic—including those in and around North Carolina’s Outer Banks—are ripe for large-scale wind energy development, the report defines energy solely in terms of fossil fuel.
Now, I should be clear about one thing here. The report, titled “Potential Job Creation, Economic Benefits and
Revenue Sharing from Oil and Natural Gas
Exploration and Production in North Carolina,” was developed to highlight the economic benefits of fossil fuel development on the Outer Continental Shelf, and specifically the benefits of revenue-sharing with the federal government to reap more royalty monies from oil and gas development. And that’s fine.
But if industry associations and umbrella advocacy groups like the Southeast Energy Alliance, and its parent organization, the Consumer Energy Alliance, are going to wave the “all of the above” energy policy banner, they ought to do so in earnest and with a bit more transparency. It seems the top of wind energy could at least be broached by the paper’s authors If oil and gas exploration is part of a larger strategic mission that includes the development of clean energy resources.
But judging by the press release today that announced the report, you’d have no idea that the report dealt exclusively with oil and gas exploration and development. In fact, the word “oil” is not even mentioned until the eighth and final paragraph of the press release. To get a feel of the kind of linguistic evasiveness I’m talking about, this is what the beginning of the release looks like:
Report: Offshore Energy Development Could Create 6,700 Jobs and
Bring North Carolina up to $577 Million Annually
As state struggles to meet massive budget shortfall,
report confirms huge amounts of revenue exist safely offshore
Raleigh, N.C. – North Carolina could receive up to $577 million annually in revenue sharing payments from offshore energy development, according to a report to be released today by the Southeast Energy Alliance (SEA).
The report, which will be distributed prior to a panel discussion on North Carolina’s available offshore energy resources and the potential for federal revenue sharing, discusses job creation, economic growth and revenues that could come to the state if it chooses to participate in offshore energy development along the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) and if Congress extends a royalty revenue sharing program to the state…
I understand that the purpose of the paper was to tout the benefits of oil and gas development. That is fine. But if the report is about petroleum, say that in the press release. If old-school “energy” industry groups want to prove that they are serious about non-fossil energy sources, they have to do much more than muddy their own preferences in some veiled attempt to gain public support.
Image © Yobidab; NREL
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