WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) today introduced the Conservation Funding Protection Act to protect jobs and drilling opportunities in the Gulf of Mexico as well as the conservation they fund.
“Ensuring continued access to energy resources in the Gulf of Mexico is critical to funding conservation efforts and important storm mitigation projects along the Texas coast,” said Sen. Cornyn. “This bill would help keep us from a return to the days of relying on our adversaries to meet our energy needs.”
The Conservation Funding Protection Act would ensure that American oil producers would retain access to critical energy reservoirs on the Outer Continental Shelf. That energy production funds conservation, coastal restoration, hurricane preparedness, wetland mitigation and public land maintenance.
Specifically, the bill would require at least two area-wide lease sales per year on available acreage in the Western and Central Gulf of Mexico. The Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act currently directs the Secretary of Interior to establish a schedule for lease sales on the Outer Continental Shelf but does not mandate the number of lease sales the department is required to hold.
This bill would maintain all current environmental laws and ensure that the Department of Interior conducts the environmental reviews required by law within clear time frames. The legislation does not alter environmental regulations for lease sales, rig operations, or exploration.
Support for this legislation includes the American Petroleum Institute, National Ocean Industries Association, International Association of Drilling Contractors, Consumer Energy Alliance, International Association for Geophysical Chemistry, Petroleum Equipment and Service Association, and others.
Sens. John Kennedy (R-LA), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Ted Cruz (R-TX), and Roger Wicker (R-MS) are also original cosponsors.