Murkowski Comments on Western Gulf Lease Sale Announcement
New Terms Raise Concerns Over Interior’s Ability to Retroactively Alter Leases
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today released the following comment in response to the Interior Department’s decision to significantly alter the standard lease terms for offshore oil and natural gas exploration in the upcoming Western Gulf of Mexico lease sale:
“While I appreciate the administration’s decision to make more potentially productive areas available for exploration, the changes in the lease terms raise real concerns. This lease sale nearly triples the expense of bidding on offshore acreage, while requiring leaseholders to give the government the right to unilaterally rewrite the lease at anytime, increasing a bidder’s risk and making the leases less attractive.
“While the administration does have discretion to reasonably adjust the terms of leases and apply regulations, I’m concerned that these new requirements, which will be applied for the first time under this sale, risk reducing returns for taxpayers in the long term, as well as worsening the uncertainty that has plagued offshore permitting for more than a year. These changes deserve congressional oversight.”
Murkowski is the top Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee.