US Deputy Secretary Connor visits Gulf Coast to discuss offshore production, Gulf restoration

Offshore staff

NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana – As part of the Obama Administration’s all-of-the-above energy strategy to continue to expand safe and responsible domestic energy production, Deputy Secretary of the Interior Mike Connor visited New Orleans, Louisiana, where he participated in the Administration’s Quadrennial Energy Review (QER), visited oil and gas production facilities, and joined a roundtable discussion on Gulf Coast restoration.  

“The Gulf of Mexico is a critical component of our nation’s domestic energy portfolio, and we are committed to working with industry, state officials, and local communities to improve and safeguard the infrastructure that supports the region’s production and distribution systems,” Deputy Secretary Connor said. “I look forward to continuing to work with the various stakeholders as we identify threats, reduce vulnerabilities, increase resilience, and strengthen response and recovery efforts.”

Deputy Secretary Connor joined Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz and US Senator Mary Landrieu at the May 27 Quadrennial Energy Review stakeholder meeting at Louisiana State University, which focused on petroleum transmission, storage, and distribution issues.

Coordinated by the US Department of Energy, President Obama established the QER in a Jan. 9 Presidential Memorandum to provide a multiyear roadmap that outlines federal energy policy objectives, legislative proposals to Congress, executive actions, an agenda for research, development, and demonstration programs and funding, and financing and incentive programs. The President’s Climate Action Plan calls for the initial review to focus on energy infrastructure – the network for transporting, transmitting, storing, and delivering energy – and identify the threats, risks and opportunities for US energy and climate security, enabling the federal government to translate policy goals into a set of integrated actions.

While in Louisiana, Connor traveled to Port Fourchon, a multi-use facility serving as a land-base for offshore deepwater oil and gas activities, currently servicing 90% of deepwater structures in the Gulf of Mexico. Connor also visited the Caminada Headland Barrier Island Restoration Project. The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation recently provided an additional $144.5 million to the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority to fund the second phase of this critical beach and dune restoration work.

The tour of the project followed a roundtable discussion yesterday to review ongoing Gulf coast restoration efforts for natural resources damaged by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. More than two dozen groups, representing a broad-based coalition working to restore marshes, barrier islands, dunes and shorelines, participated in the informal discussion, including local and national environmental groups, the offshore industry and regional economic development organizations.

Interior agencies have been working on Gulf Coast restoration projects with other federal, state, tribal, and private sector partners and Gulf residents as part of the Deepwater Horizon Natural Resources Damage Assessment Trustee Council. The goal of the recovery projects implemented by the trustees is to restore, replace, rehabilitate, or acquire the equivalent of the impacted resources.  

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