Gulf of Mexico
Scott Clause / USA Today Network

USA - Kennedy, Cassidy Propose Plan to Increase Gulf of Mexico Lease Sales

Louisiana's U.S. senators are spearheading an attempt to require the federal government to hold two lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico each year — a move the senators say would protect jobs and secure conservation funding.

Sen. John Kennedy, a Republican from Madisonville, introduced the bill Tuesday. The bill, called the Conservation Funding Protection Act, lists five other Republican senators as cosponsors: fellow Louisianan Bill Cassidy, Ted Cruz and John Cornyn from Texas and Cindy Hyde-Smith and Roger Wicker from Mississippi.

The bill would require at least two area-wide lease sales each year on available land in the western and central portions of the Gulf of Mexico. The U.S. Department of Interior is currently required by the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to schedule lease sales for the Outer Continental Shelf — the submerged land in the gulf — but it does not have a set number of required sales for the department to hold.

In a news release, Kennedy's office said the law would keep environmental regulations and ensure the Department of Interior conducts environmental reviews. The law would not change environmental regulations for lease sales, rig operations or exploration.

“Louisianians and other energy producers help keep America running and keep America safe," Kennedy said in a statement.

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