A game of chicken is shaping up over the Obama administration’s decision to let the oil industry collect fresh data on energy supplies off the Atlantic Coast.
The Interior Department, over the protests of environmentalists, said in July that it would allow the oil industry to use seismic air cannons to search for oil and gas underneath federal waters in the Atlantic.
But industry trade groups, in new comments to Interior, say that decision means little unless regulators signal that the industry will actually be able to drill for oil if they find it. Otherwise, what’s the incentive to look?
Right now the Atlantic Coast is off-limits to drilling. But oil-and-gas companies want Interior to make clear that the federal 2017-2022 offshore lease sale plan, which is in the early stages of development, will include blocs off the Atlantic Coast states.
The American Petroleum Institute and 10 other groups, in new comments on the plan, say that right now “the timing of the 2017-2022 Five-Year Program development process and industry’s seismic data collection are out of sync.”
They want Interior to include mid-Atlantic and South Atlantic regions in the draft 2017-2022 program. The groups note that under the current permitting timeline for seismic testing, companies will not be able to collect data until early 2015 at the earliest. Add in the data-processing time, and 2016 would be the earliest that regulators and the industry would have new resource estimates from the testing, they say.
“If the Atlantic [Outer Continental Shelf] is not included in the Draft Proposed Program, then new seismic data will likely not be available since the incentive for companies to collect the data—and the prospect of a future lease sale—will be gone,” state the comments from API, America’s Natural Gas Alliance, the National Ocean Industries Association, the International Association of Geophysical Contractors, and other groups.
An API spokesman said the group has heard that the draft plan could be out by the end of 2014. Interior did not provide a timeline Thursday.
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Foreign Policy takes a look at the future of mining the estimated "100,000 near-Earth objects—including asteroids and comets—in the neighborhood of our planet. Some of these NEOs, as they’re called, are small. Others are substantial and potentially packed full of water and various important minerals, such as nickel, cobalt, and iron. One day, advocates believe, those objects will be tapped by variations on the equipment used in the coal mines of Kentucky or in the diamond mines of Africa. And for immense gain: According to industry experts, the contents of a single asteroid could be worth trillions of dollars." But the technology to get us there is only the first step. Experts say "a multinational body might emerge" to manage rights to NEOs, as well as a body of law, including an international court.
Not to be outdone by Jeffrey Goldberg's recent piece in The Atlantic about President Obama's foreign policy, the New York Times Magazine checks in with a longread on the president's economic legacy. In it, Obama is cognizant that the economic reality--73 straight months of growth--isn't matched by public perceptions. Some of that, he says, is due to a constant drumbeat from the right that "that denies any progress." But he also accepts some blame himself. “I mean, the truth of the matter is that if we had been able to more effectively communicate all the steps we had taken to the swing voter,” he said, “then we might have maintained a majority in the House or the Senate.”
Ronald Reagan's children and political allies took to the media and Twitter this week to chide funnyman Will Ferrell for his plans to play a dementia-addled Reagan in his second term in a new comedy entitled Reagan. In an open letter, Reagan's daughter Patti Davis tells Ferrell, who's also a producer on the movie, “Perhaps for your comedy you would like to visit some dementia facilities. I have—I didn’t find anything comedic there, and my hope would be that if you’re a decent human being, you wouldn’t either.” Michael Reagan, the president's son, tweeted, "What an Outrag....Alzheimers is not joke...It kills..You should be ashamed all of you." And former Rep. Joe Walsh called it an example of "Hollywood taking a shot at conservatives again."
In a sign that she’s ready to put a longer-than-expected primary battle behind her, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D) is no longer going on the air in upcoming primary states. “Team Clinton hasn’t spent a single cent in … California, Indiana, Kentucky, Oregon and West Virginia, while” Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) “campaign has spent a little more than $1 million in those same states.” Meanwhile, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sanders’ "lone backer in the Senate, said the candidate should end his presidential campaign if he’s losing to Hillary Clinton after the primary season concludes in June, breaking sharply with the candidate who is vowing to take his insurgent bid to the party convention in Philadelphia.”
The team behind the bestselling "Clinton Cash"—author Peter Schweizer and Breitbart's Stephen Bannon—is turning the book into a movie that will have its U.S. premiere just before the Democratic National Convention this summer. The film will get its global debut "next month in Cannes, France, during the Cannes Film Festival. (The movie is not a part of the festival, but will be shown at a screening arranged for distributors)." Bloomberg has a trailer up, pointing out that it's "less Ken Burns than Jerry Bruckheimer, featuring blood-drenched money, radical madrassas, and ominous footage of the Clintons."