Biden Administration Stops Oil And Gas Lease Sales
Biden Administration Stops Oil And Gas Lease Sales
Gas prices are soaring, but the Biden administration isn’t going to do a thing about it.
If you have filled up at the pump lately, your eyes do not deceive you. Gas prices, which had flattened out a little, are back up.
The national average price for regular gasoline climbed more than four cents on Tuesday to $4.37 a gallon, according to AAA. That takes out the prior record of $4.33 set on March 11.”
The gas spike — prices are up 17 cents in the past week alone — will only add to inflationary pressures that have raised recession fears, rocked financial markets and soured Americans’ views on the economy.”
The national average dipped to as low as $4.07 a gallon in April after the record-setting release of oil from emergency reserves and as oil prices cooled off. But as industry analysts predicted at the time, that relief proved to be short-lived and minor.”
Remember how Biden begged OPEC to drill for more oil last August? That didn’t work. Remember how Team Biden decided that it would be easier to blame Putin for the oil prices, even though the price of gas had been on the rise since Grandpa Joe got into the White House? Remember how the administration then tried to see if Venezuela wanted to play footsie with them on oil sales? Somehow the concept of being energy independent has just never caught on with Biden, and not for lack of trying. Remember how Jen Psaki said there were thousands of oil leases that weren’t being used, as if this was the oil companies’ fault that domestic production wasn’t keeping up with demand? That’s not how oil leases work, and the Biden administration knows that. An oil lease simply gives the companies permission to look for oil in certain areas. There are no guarantees that a strike will happen, even in an area suspected to be oil rich. These companies are sinking time and money into each oil exploration they undertake, and just because a lease exists doesn’t mean an oil derrick will go up the next day.
But the administration’s blame game meant that they could keep passing the buck as prices went up. It was always someone else’s fault for what has been happening.
However, the administration, under the law, still has to offer those oil and gas leases for sale (despite Biden’s attempt to stop it wholesale via executive order in the name of “climate change,” which was tossed out by the courts). Well, the Interior Department announced late on Wednesday that there just was “not enough interest” in their planned sale of leases to drill for oil in Alaska’s Cook Inlet and in the Gulf of Mexico, so they are just canceling the sale outright.
In an email Wednesday evening, (Interior spokeswoman Melissa) Schwartz said the department “will not move forward” with a roughly 1 million-acre sale in Alaska’s Cook Inlet “due to lack of industry interest in leasing in the area.”
She added that the department will not hold “lease sales 259 and 261 in the Gulf of Mexico region, as a result of delays due to factors including conflicting court rulings that impacted work on these proposed lease sales.”
Wait a minute. These sales are still mandated by law. The Biden administration knows that – they just don’t CARE.
Barring unexpected action, the current five-year offshore drilling program will lapse at the end of June. Interior cannot hold any new oil and gas lease sales until it has completed a replacement plan. But though the federal government is legally obligated to prepare one, the administration has not released its proposal — nor have officials said when it might be coming.”
The program’s looming expiration means the government doesn’t have enough time left to hold the three remaining oil and gas lease sales scheduled under the current plan. Interior spokeswoman Melissa Schwartz cited a lack of interest from oil companies, as well as legal obstacles and a time crunch, as reasons for nixing the planned auctions.”
Replacing the current plan won’t happen overnight. The timeline spelled out in regulations governing the program requires a three-step process involving environmental analysis, public comment periods and a review by the president and Congress.”
It typically takes the government at least six months to a year to finalize a new offshore drilling plan. This means that even if Interior unveils a new proposal in the coming weeks, the soonest energy companies will learn whether they will have access to new leases, and where, is probably early 2023.”
It’s hard to see this sudden cancellation of the lease sales as anything but intentional by the administration. They just don’t expect to get called out or slapped down for doing it. This is the new tactic, since they couldn’t “wield supreme executive power” and simply stop the lease sales. The Biden administration will just delay, delay, and delay, dragging their feet on creating a new plan, and hope no one notices or complains.
Next question: who has the time and standing to sue the administration for non-compliance?