ARLINGTON, Va., Dec. 6, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Obama Administration dealt a blow to American consumers last week by announcing plans to scale back the federal offshore leasing program to limit domestic oil and gas exploration.
"This latest plan, coupled with the 'de facto' moratorium on both deep and shallow water drilling in Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico, keeps abundant supplies of oil and natural gas off-limits, preventing them from being safely leveraged into more American jobs and secure, affordable energy supplies for American businesses and consumers," American Trucking Associations (ATA) Vice President and Regulatory Affairs Counsel Rich Moskowitz said.
"Restricting offshore exploration is a major setback for our nation's quest toward reducing our dependence on foreign energy sources," Moskowitz said. "Limiting access to domestic oil jeopardizes the efficiency of our supply chain, our economic health and ultimately harms American consumers."
In a reversal of its position on offshore leasing, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced Dec. 1 a delay in the lease sale of areas off the coast of Virginia, by removing it from the 2012-2017 federal outer continental shelf leasing plan. The Administration also reversed course on its plans to accelerate leasing in the eastern Gulf of Mexico to within 125 miles of Florida and indicated that it would delay planned sales in the western and central Gulf of Mexico originally scheduled for 2011. Additionally, they will not hold new lease sales in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas in northern Alaska through 2012.
"Furthering our dependence on imported oil will lead to higher prices at the pump," Moskowitz said. "When fuel prices rise, so do the prices of all goods carried by trucks."
Nearly 70 percent of all U.S. freight and virtually all consumer goods move through our nation's supply chain by truck, and the overwhelming majority of trucking companies are small businesses that suffer greatly from spikes in fuel prices.
In 2008, trucks required 37.6 billion gallons of diesel fuel at a record cost of $142.9 billion. The record-high diesel prices experienced in 2008 contributed to 3,065 companies with five or more trucks going out of business.
The American Trucking Associations (www.truckline.com) is the largest national trade association for the trucking industry. Through a federation of other trucking groups, industry-related conferences, and its 50 affiliated state trucking associations, ATA represents more than 37,000 members covering every type of motor carrier in the United States. Follow ATA on Twitter @TruckingMatters (www.twitter.com/truckingmatters), or become a fan on Facebook (http://tinyurl.com/y4qwp6h).
SOURCE American Trucking Associations