Natural Gas: Critical to the U.S. Plastics Industry

Issue:

The United States plastics industry heavily relies on natural gas as both a primary source of energy and as the basic feedstock for a number of its products.  Unfortunately, inconsistent and often limited supplies of natural gas have led to higher prices, which have increased the overall operating costs for most of the plastics industry.  This increase has significantly contributed to the loss of more than 200,000 jobs in the plastics sector since 2002. 

Federal Activity:

In 2008, former President Bush and Congress allowed an offshore drilling moratorium to lapse for the first time since it was instituted in 1982.  With the moratorium lifted, the Department of the Interior released a draft five-year plan which recommended 31 areas off of the Pacific and Atlantic coasts for drilling lease sales, and requested comments on this proposal through September 21, 2009.

On March 31, 2010, President Obama announced his Administration's intentions to open approximately 24 million acres of the eastern Gulf of Mexico for oil and natural gas exploration and development and also study the potential development of key areas off Mid and Southern Atlantic states.

SPI Position:

SPI strongly supports federal policy that will increase the supply and lower the price of natural gas across the country.  To this end, SPI encourages the immediate implementation of the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Draft Proposed Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil and Gas Leasing Program 2010–2015.

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