Oil and gas lease sales canceled

Written by Nick Blenkey
Interior doesn't intend to approve l offshore oil and gas leasing program until December

Image: BOEM

The Biden administration is canceling oil and gas lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska’s Cook Inlet, according to media reports that cite Interior Department spokeswoman Melissa Schwartz, as saying that the Cook Inlet lease sale would not proceed because of a “lack of industry interest” and that the planned sale of two leases in the Gulf of Mexico was being scrapped because of “conflicting court rulings.”

“This decision is not surprising at all,” said Erik Milito, president of the National Ocean Industry Association (NOIA). “As early as March 2020, then-candidate Biden made it clear that he would stop federal oil and gas development if elected. This was followed by additional formal campaign declarations, a pause on federal leasing that continues today, and continued statements by the Administration that it is their intent to stop additional federal oil and gas development. The administration absolutely has the ability to hold these lease sales. They also have the ability to prepare a new leasing program for the 2022-2027 program. This has been proven by the actions of all past administrations, including the Obama White House.

“These decisions are devastating to Americans. Restricting American energy development will quite simply lead to reduced American supplies, higher prices, lost investment, destruction of high-paying jobs throughout the country, harmful geopolitical consequences, and a reversion to dependency on foreign suppliers – such a Russia, Iran, and China – with little interest in reducing emissions and protecting workers and the environment. The adverse consequences of the explicit decision to suspend U.S. oil and gas development are being felt in a very hard way by everyday Americans and by our allies around the world.”

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