This is the first of a series of articles highlighting two related activities that will seek and encourage AAPG member participation in outreach efforts on legislative initiatives.
The focus is expanded OCS access and work force training and education -- topics that have historically held great appeal for members.
Encouraged by the successful efforts of various members of the energy community in impacting the outcome of the recent MMS Five Year Plan, an expanded coalition of strategic partners is coalescing to build on the success of the MMS Five Year Plan initiative and build broad bipartisan support for the enactment of legislation of an OCS Access/Revenue Sharing bill. This legislation would be focused on the Mid-Atlantic States and Alaska.
The coalition members recognize that motivated and informed members will be pivotal in educating Congress and the administration, state and regional officials as well as the general population that the OCS both contains valuable petroleum resources and can be developed safely and beneficially to the nation and the regions.
A national group, Consumers Energy Alliance, (www.consumerenergyalliance.org), together with other national and regional groups, proposes to work together through a group called the OCS Coalition to develop and implement a strategy to allow coastal states in the Mid-Atlantic and Alaska the opportunity to develop oil and natural gas resources off their respective coasts.
The Mid-Atlantic states -- Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia -- all have initiated OCS legislative initiatives at the state level.
The Coalition goals are:
- The passage of federal legislation allowing states to opt-out of federal OCS moratoria and participate in royalty revenue sharing.
- To encourage state action to opt-out of federal OCS moratoria and participate in royalty revenue sharing.
The Coalition already has engaged in discussion of inclusion of an education trust fund as part of the initiative, from which a portion would be directed to the maintenance of historical natural resources geology and engineering university programs. GEO-DC is working with other engineering and geological associations for the purpose of including language similar to the Energy and Mining School Reinvestment Act provisions in the proposed OCS legislation.
As the initiative progresses, we will keep members informed of the status and need for member involvement.
Here are some of the anticipated action items that will be required to move this package forward:
♦ Developing the key messages for members to use and to frame the legislation.
- OCS access offers long-term energy policy options.
- Increased domestic production helps moderate uncertainty in energy prices.
- The potential resources are in key energy demand/supply areas.
- The legislation is targeted to provide equitable royalty funding for states that provide for development of OCS resources.
- OCS development will provide infrastructure and high quality jobs as well as energy supply.
♦ Provide the elements of draft legislation.
- Develop the five-state legislative proposal.
- Identify and encourage Congressional champions for the legislation.
- Build and expand the DC-based and grassroots support for legislation support.
- Build administration support for the legislation.
♦ Build and expand national and state coalitions.
- Secure support from a broadened group of national stakeholders that building on the groups that supported the 2006 OCS bill and the MMS Five Year Plan action call.
- Secure support from the key constituencies in the Mid-Atlantic states and Alaska.
- Work with strategic partners in each of the states to further coalesce support for OCS access and revenue sharing legislation at the state level.
Surrounding these will be ongoing efforts to engage individual members of the coalition to build constituency, develop media contacts and engage in outreach to the local, regional and national press.
Significant efforts will be focused on effectively utilizing the resources available in all of the affiliated OCS Coalition organizations to not only make the case to policy makers and the media, but also effectively engage environmental and conservation groups to explain and educate the goals of the initiative.
While this effort will progress with or without the active participation of AAPG, the Association member’s participation and support will contribute significantly to the potential for success.
This will not be a slam-dunk kind of effort. To the contrary, it will require time to carefully build the constituency, to make the case for enhanced energy security, to convince the public that there is value and benefit in creating jobs and infrastructure on a regional basis and to educate the policy makers at many levels of the merits of expanded access.
We will work to keep members informed at every opportunity -- through Washington Watch, through timely notices on the GEO-DC web site and through individual contacts and Action Alerts.