The federal government’s offshore fossil fuel drilling program is close to a conclusion, and the Biden administration hasn’t ruled out a full ban on new licenses.
The Department of the Interior’s (DOI) proposed five-year offshore leasing plan’s comment period closed on Thursday, allowing the agency to make a final decision. The Department of the Interior (DOI) released its plan in July, which shredded a proposal from the Trump administration by prohibiting leasing in either the Atlantic or Pacific and allowing for the unusual situation in which no lease auctions would be place until 2028.
As Cole Ramsey, vice president of upstream policy at the American Petroleum Institute (API), stated on Thursday, “the ability of U.S. producers to provide more oil and natural gas supplies to the world market has also changed geopolitical dynamics for the better,” leading to increased energy security for the United States and its allies and positive effects on the environment around the world.
In light of recent events across the world, a robust offshore leasing program is more important than ever before for maintaining U.S. energy independence.
The American Petroleum Institute (API) filed a statement earlier today encouraging the administration to allow “safe and ecologically prudent” drilling in federal seas. In their feedback, the group voiced their worry about the DOI’s zero-lease scenario, stating that it would put at risk domestic energy production and reduce energy security.
Frank Macchiarola, API’s senior vice president of policy, economics, and regulatory affairs, said on a call with reporters on Thursday that “every previous administration, whether Republican or Democrat, recognized the strategic advantages of U.S. offshore domestic energy and fulfilled their statutory obligation to maintain an offshore leasing program and continuously hold lease sales.” As of yet, “the Biden administration has failed to meet present and future U.S. energy demands.”
He argued that announcing a policy of no new lease sales was the wrong move at the wrong time.
Attendees included representatives from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Global Energy Institute, the Consumer Energy Alliance, and the Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association.
If the Department of the Interior has its way, it would host zero to eleven offshore lease auctions instead of the forty-seven that the Trump administration proposed. Every five years, the Interior Secretary must publish offshore leasing plans outlining potential oil and gas lease sales in accordance with federal law.
While environmental organizations have consistently voiced their opposition to any additional fossil fuel leasing, the government has been slow to implement a substitute plan in the face of mounting industry pressure and skyrocketing gas costs. As part of her announcement announcing the plan on July 1, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland reiterated her and President Biden’s “commitment to transition to a clean energy economy.”
Energy costs have been on the rise again in recent weeks, a trend that was highlighted by business leaders on Thursday. According to AAA, the national average price of a gallon of gasoline rose to $3.87 on Thursday.
“U.S. offshore has repercussions far beyond the Gulf Coast. To ensure these advantages for future generations, it is crucial to finalize a strong national leasing program “In a statement, NOIA President Erik Milito told FOX Business. Our partners want a low-emissions substitute for the energy Russia produces due to rising energy costs and a cloudy global economic picture.
The advantages of U.S. offshore leasing extend far and wide, he continued. “Strong domestic production is supported by a wide range of commenters, including people, corporations, civic groups, political leaders, and organizations. That’s proof certain that the U.S. offshore, and the Gulf of Mexico in particular, is a low-carbon energy and economic powerhouse.”