Alexander demands more oil, gas leases

Sen. Lamar AlexanderLamar AlexanderOvernight Regulation: Lawsuits pile up against Obama overtime rule The American people are restive, discouraged and sometimes suicidal GOP chairman eyes lame-duck for passing medical cures bill MORE (R-Tenn.) called on the administration to expand oil and gas drilling in the Outer Continental Shelf.

“There is no reason we shouldn’t be using all the resources we have available to increase our energy security, create more jobs at home and reduce our reliance on oil from countries that want to do us harm,” Alexander said Tuesday.

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He made the comments after he and 20 other Republicans sent a letter to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) led the letter. The lawmakers asked that the department make all offshore oil and gas resources in the Outer Continental Shelf available for development.

“By expanding energy research and development to all areas in the Outer Continental Shelf, we will be able to make more of our own energy resources available to power our economy,” Alexander said.

In the letter, the senators said they were disappointed that the administration didn’t include an increase in lease sales in the Atlantic as part of its “Five Year Program.”

“We must not return to the constrained vision of the past wherein America’s resources remain untapped just off our coastline,” the letter stated. “As the next program is finalized, please know that we will only support a leasing program that continues to develop in current exploration areas and includes new access in areas such as Alaska and the Atlantic regions.”