Public Comment Window on Affordable Energy, Jobs, and Economic Growth Continues Through Friday

Brent Greenfield, vice president of policy for the Consumer Energy Alliance, speaking in Montgomery, urged support for a U.S. Department of Interior draft national offshore oil and gas leasing proposal. Comments are allowed through Friday. (Contributed)

A national advocate for energy consumers and Alabama’s energy industry at a Thursday news conference in Montgomery urged support for a U.S. Department of the Interior proposal seeking public comment about expanding offshore energy development in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Consumer Energy Alliance in Montgomery concluded its public meetings that were held in 22 states and the District of Columbia to promote sound energy and environmental policies consistent with continued economic growth in Alabama.

Alabama businesses, and the public in general, may comment on the Interior Department’s proposal through Friday, March 9.

A study has estimated that expanding access to energy in federal waters in the Gulf could produce an additional 21,000 jobs, $1.7 billion annually for the state’s economy, and nearly $550 million annually in state government revenue in 2035.

Business support of adequate energy will send a clear message to encourage job growth and economic success at home by accessing more American energy and supporting a more prosperous future for Alabama.

“Supporting the Interior Department’s proposal to both continue and expand access to Gulf of Mexico energy will protect the long-term energy and economic security of Alabama’s families and small businesses,” said Brent Greenfield, vice president of policy for the CEA, prior to the Interior Department’s public hearing in Montgomery.

BCA members and all Alabama businesses are urged to comment on this proposal to expand Gulf of Mexico energy development that will support Alabama’s economy. The more we can continue to access that energy, the more Alabama will benefit.

“Affordable and reliable energy is vital not only for our homes and offices, but also for Alabama’s manufacturers that are leading Alabama in the new century of productivity and profitability,” BCA President and CEO William J. Canary said in a statement of support. “Our region’s plentiful and sustainable domestic energy sources, including Gulf oil and gas fields, should be explored fully in order to sustain affordable and available supplies for Alabama’s manufacturers, small businesses, and consumers. We are blessed with domestic energy sources and that should be managed in appropriate and reasonable ways for us and our children.”

In 2014, Gulf of Mexico energy activity contributed 18,000 jobs and $1.5 billion in economic activity for Alabama.

“Lifted up by human innovation and technological advances, the energy revolution has allowed the United States to achieve continued environmental progress, demonstrating that American energy development and a health environment go hand-in-hand,” Greenfield said

Alabama is blessed with abundant natural resources and vital industries that employ hundreds of thousands of Alabamians.

This includes significant energy in the Gulf of Mexico, which today accounts for 17 percent of our nation’s crude oil production. “However, without access to more areas in places like the Gulf of Mexico, these benefits are at risk for Alabamians,” Greenfield said.

Consumer Energy Alliance represents families and small businesses across this great state, the Gulf Coast region, and the entire nation, with more than 500,000 individual supporters across the United States and 24,000 right here in Alabama.