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US Bill targets offshore boost

Lease sales could be held at least twice a year on continental shelf

US Bill targets offshore boost image

Offshore wind leasing in US federal waters would get a boost under proposed legislation to increase onshore and ocean energy development and streamline regulations.

House Natural Resources chairman Rob Bishop has unveiled draft legislation that directs the Interior Secretary to hold at least two offshore wind lease sales on the outer continental shelf a year.

The bill also requires a lease sale off the coast of California as soon as possible or no later than one year after the legislation is enacted.

In addition, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management would have to conduct feasibility studies for lease sales off Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam and Hawaii and report the results within 180 days of the bill becoming law.

If the studies conclude offshore wind is feasible, then sales must be held as soon as practicable, but not later than one year after enactment.

The proposed energy overhaul comes after months of consultations and includes provisions to let states share in revenue from oil and gas leasing, scheduled offshore oil and gas lease sales, reduced permitting delays for the taking of marine mammals and other regulation streamlining for development in the ocean and on federally owned land.

“Despite abundant undiscovered resources, our federal lands and waters have been held hostage by Washington bureaucracy,” said Bishop, referring to the previous Obama administration.

“With these reforms, we can harness the full potential of our domestic resources, increase revenues to federal and state governments and build a foundation of energy strength at home and abroad,” said Bishop, the Republican representative for Utah.

A Natural Resources subcommittee will hold a legislative hearing 7 November on the draft.

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