Math Mistake Blocks U.S. Energy Production
The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), which determines the impact of offshore energy projects on wildlife, made a mathematical error earlier this year in calculating the impact of proposed Gulf of Mexico oil and gas projects, holding up permits, and make it harder to produce more energy here in the U.S.
We all make mistakes. But we try to fix them. NMFS didn’t.
Despite copping to the screw-up in April, NMFS has refused to redo the calculations, delaying essential domestic energy production at a time of rising oil prices. The National Ocean Industries Association says the NMFS error is costing jobs and keeping U.S. drilling and exploration companies idle.
In a letter to President Biden, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) urges the administration to “address the permitting backlog. … Despite admitting that an agency error is prolonging these permits, the delayed Letters of Authorization are unacceptably postponing new offshore production on current leases that would produce hundreds of thousands of barrels per day in the near future.”
Manchin has been pushing for broad permitting reform. Getting approval for energy infrastructure projects takes three times as long now as it did 50 years ago, and even many environmentalists back reform, since permitting delays are holding up the conversion to cleaner forms of energy.