As normalcy returned to citizens across the state of Texas after Winter Storm Uri, two United States Congressmen tried to make sure the regional economy for the state also return. As the energy industry’s offshore sector prepares for renewed energy demand by consumers during an increase in COVID-19 vaccine distribution across the world, investments in onshore and offshore developments assist with long-term economic resilience. In late February, Representatives Kevin Brady (R-TX) and Henry Cuellar (D-TX) introduced a bipartisan bill, the More Energy More Jobs Act of 2021.
The More Energy More Jobs Act of 2021 bill would require at least 2 area-wide lease sales annually in the Western and Central Gulf of Mexico, as well as allow U.S. Governors to formally nominate areas for offshore natural gas and oil development. This gives state governors a bigger role in opening offshore development.
Brady, a senior member of the House Ways and Means Committee and chairman of the Joint Economic Committee, said in a recent statement, “This innovative approach allows willing states to nominate potential offshore areas for the federal draft 5-year lease plan. And it directs the Interior Department to conduct the economic and environmental studies that are the important first steps for inclusion in the lease plan. As a result, Washington will no longer be able to disqualify these important areas for purely political reasons.”
Cuellar lauded the bill’s focus on economic growth for the Gulf Coast region, “This legislation will help ensure that we have access to critical energy resources while also maintaining critical environmental safeguards.”
The proposed legislation comes shortly after President Biden signed an executive order in his first week of office to suspend oil and gas leasing on federal lands and offshore waters for one year. Given importance that offshore drilling has on the public coffers of coastal states, this bipartisan bill offers more local control over their budgets can ensure that states can directly fund their Texas schools, teachers, roads, infrastructure, and healthcare facilities.
IADC applauded the proposed bill from Representatives Cuellar and Brady in a recent public statement.
“It would provide much-needed certainty to drilling contractors and rig workers around the world that the Gulf’s energy resources will continue to be developed in a safe, innovative, and timely manner,” said IADC President, Jason McFarland in a released statement.
If you’d like to read the text of the bill, read more on Kevin Brady’s proposed bill here.