Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke testified to the House Committee on Natural Resources today.
Here were his most significant comments regarding offshore oil drilling.
Secretary Zinke said that his top priority is generating revenue to help balance his agency’s budget.
He said that federal royalties from offshore oil leases have dropped and that increasing federal revenue from offshore drilling could make up all the shortfall in the budget for the National Parks Service.
Secretary Zinke also claimed that federal regulations have been hard on Big Oil forcing it to drill dry holes in the Gulf.
He also said that the process for developing a new five-year plan on offshore oil leases will begin in the next 30 days with the official notice in the federal register. He also said that this new planning process will cost $10 million and take 2-3 years.
Citing his past military experience, Secretary Zinke said that if the military says that it needs an area of the ocean to be protected from oil development for its mission, he would consider it. He also said regarding drilling, new technology should be looked at to see if it addresses the military’s concerns or not.
When asked about how the Secretary chose to balance his budget to create winners and losers, Zinke said that Congress has a say in the Interior’s priorities.
Secretary Zinke said that seismic testing is important to determine the inventory of oil in the Atlantic. He also said that Congress should say whether drilling offshore in the Atlantic proceeds after it knows the inventory.
Frank Knapp Jr.
President & CEO