The government’s offshore leasing system fails to account for uncertainties about environmental harms—the system ignores “option value,” a well-established economic technique that quantifies the value of delaying decisions to acquire crucial information. As a result, the current leasing system leads to over-exploitation of natural resources and excessive environmental risk.
A current lawsuit is challenging the use of this flawed economic analysis in the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s (BOEM’s) 2012-2017 leasing plan for the Gulf of Mexico and the Alaskan coast.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit heard the oral argument in Center for Sustainable Economy v. Jewell on September 11th. Policy Integrity senior advisor Michael Livermore represented the plaintiff, arguing that BOEM must consider option value to make the leasing system economically fair. The case could have significant implications for all government natural resource leasing programs. A ruling is expected in the coming months.