WATCH: Kelly Successfully Pushes Administration to Advance Domestic Energy Production Amid Rising Gas Prices

At the urging of Arizona Senator Mark Kelly, the Department of Interior announced today that it will produce a Proposed Plan for oil and gas development in the Gulf of Mexico by June 30, 2022. Kelly spoke with Interior Secretary Deb Haaland about the announcement during a hearing in the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, and encouraged Haaland to expedite the release of a finalized plan.

“These five year programs, Madame Secretary, are important because they designate which areas are open to development, and they send a signal to the market and to investors that the federal government has a framework in place for approving future projects,” said Kelly in the hearing

“Senator Kelly and I wrote to the President urging him to develop and implement the next five-year program without delay,” said Senator Joe Manchin, who chairs the committee. “We pointed out that the Gulf of Mexico production is among the cleanest in the world and would offset foreign imports shipped across the oceans.”

In April, Kelly and Senator Manchin called on the administration to develop and implement a new Five-Year Program for offshore production in the Gulf of Mexico. Approximately 98 percent of offshore oil produced by the United States occurs in the Gulf.  

Kelly has continued to push the Biden administration for an all-of-the-above energy approach that strengthens America’s energy independence and reduces costs for families while meeting climate goals.

Kelly has been focused on lowering rising costs for Arizona families by tackling supply chain issuesdriving up prices for gas and food. Kelly has also introduced legislation to suspend the federal gas tax through the end of the year.

Kelly addresses Secretary Haaland in the hearing. 

Read Kelly’s exchange with Secretary Haaland below, or watch the full clip HERE.

Kelly: […] So Secretary Haaland, I want to thank you for today’s announcement that the department will produce a draft plan for the offshore oil and gas leasing program. In some parts of Arizona, the price of a gallon of gas is now about $5 a gallon…well above the national average, too expensive for hardworking families that have to commute to work, and take their kids to school, and struggle to buy medicine and groceries.

As Chairman Manchin mentioned in his opening remarks, the two of us, Senator Manchin and I, wrote a letter to the president urging him to develop the next five year plan for offshore oil development in the Gulf of Mexico. And these five year programs as you know, Madame Secretary, are important because they designate which areas are open to development and they send a signal to the market, as well, and to investors that the federal government has a framework in place for approving future projects. Your announcement that you will produce a draft five-year offshore plan next month is helpful. How soon will we get a finalized plan for the Department of interior?

Secretary Haaland: Thank you for the question, Senator, and as I mentioned earlier, we are working expeditiously to move this forward. I know my team…I won’t go through all the steps, but we essentially had to start from scratch on this issue. We… there are several other steps besides…. after the draft that comes out on June 30th, that would be followed by a 90-day public comment period, followed by another final programmatic EIS that can be adopted 60 days later. 

We’re happy to keep you updated on our progress on this issue. 

Kelly: So based on the 90 days plus the 60 days, it looks like the earliest would be November 30th. Is there any way to accelerate that? 

Secretary Haaland: As I mentioned, we are working expeditiously.

Kelly: Alright, thank you, Madam Secretary. […]