Biden administration reveals oil and gasoline drilling plan, breaking Trump-era framework

The Biden Administration announced plans for a long-awaited five-year offshore oil and gas lease on Friday a day after missing a deadline in June.

The Department of Interior (DOI) plan includes the federal government’s ability to hold up to 11 leases off the coasts of Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico over a five-year period from 2023-2028. However, the plan also offers an option for the federal government not to lease for the same time period.

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said: “From Day One, President Biden and I have made clear our commitment to the transition to a clean energy economy. “Today, we present an opportunity for the American people to consider and comment on the future of offshore oil and gas leasing. Now is the time for the public to consider our future.”

The plan does not include any potential sales in the Atlantic or Pacific Oceans, effectively preventing drilling off the east and west coasts. In the first version of the DOI plan, the Trump administration sought to secure a total of 47 sales across the Atlantic, Pacific, Gulf of Mexico and off the coasts of Alaska.

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Under the Offshore Lands Act of 1953, the federal government is required to issue offshore rental plans every five years. Prospective oil and gas rental sales. The current 2017-2022 plan expired on Thursday.

Previously, Haaland had promised that the DOI would issue the plan on Thursday. Administration delay notice without giving reason.

Deb Haaland Furniture

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland speaks during a news conference on July 22, 2021, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File) (AP Photo / David Zalubowski, File / AP Newsroom)

“In this context, I’m disappointed to see that ‘zero’ rental sales are even an option on the table,” said Senate Energy and Resources Chairman Joe Manchin, DW.V., in a statement. “There was more than enough flexibility in the program to adjust sales after that, which the Administration previously took advantage of to cancel three sales earlier this year.”

“Our leasing programs are a critical component of America’s energy security,” he added.

Current and previous plans, both launched by the Obama administration, include more than 10 offshore oil and gas rental revenues.

In May, DOI canceled the remaining three rental transactions planned under current plans, one of which spans more than a million acres in Cook Inlet off the coast of Alaska. While the administration held up a rental sale in the Gulf of Mexico in the fall, it chose not to appeal a federal court ruling on the sale due to environmental objections.

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“Now more than ever, we need the Administration to deliver energy policy that promotes energy affordability for Americans,” said National Ocean Industry Association (NOIA) President Erik Milito. and advance our national security interests.” “This proposed rental plan is only one step in the process, and it is imperative that the Government act quickly to finalize and implement the proposed program, without sacrificing space. ”

gasoline price inflation

The advertised price of gas is over six dollars a gallon in Los Angeles, California. ((AP Photo / Marcio Jose Sanchez) / AP Newsroom)

NOIA, representing offshore wind and fossil fuel development companies, issue a report in March with the American Petroleum Institute predicting that domestic oil production will decline, thousands of jobs will be lost and US gross domestic product will fall if the DOI does not come up with an alternative five-year plan.

However, environmental groups and Democratic lawmakers have urged the president to enact the five-year plan without any planned leases. On Tuesday, 10 Democratic senators led by Senator Bob Menendez, DN.J. lead, wrote a letter to Haaland urging her against the new lease.

“While I’m obviously delighted to see potential new overseas rentals drop significantly from what the regulator ultimately suggested, I certainly don’t take that as a consoling standard.” , House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Raul Grijalva, D- Ariz., said in a statement after the plan was announced Friday.

“Despite my disappointment at leaving the door open to nearly a dozen new rentals over the next five years, I take great comfort in knowing that the Biden administration has made it clear that it will listen to communities.” frontline environmental justice community and consult with the tribes,” he continued.

Immediately after taking office, President Biden signed an executive order suspend new oil and gas rental on the lands and waters of the Union. But a federal court halted the policy in an injunction in June 2021.

Plan to be announced on Friday is a “proposed programme”, meaning the government is still required to hold a 90-day public comment period and make a follow-up proposal before the plan is finalized.

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Meanwhile, the average nationwide gas price hit $4.84 a gallon on Friday, near an all-time high of about $5 a gallon recorded on June 14, according to AAA data.

Republican lawmakers have blamed the high pump prices on the Biden administration’s climate agenda and decision not to host as many rental sales as previous administrations have.

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