The Alaska Oil and Gas Lease Sale Has Been Canceled by the Biden Administration!
One of the most high-profile oil and gas lease chances sitting before the Interior Department has been terminated by the Biden administration. The ruling, which puts a stop to oil drilling on nearly 1 million acres in Alaska’s Cook Inlet, comes at a difficult political time when gas prices are at all-time highs.
The Department of the Interior said in a statement originally obtained that the decision to “not move forward” with the Cook Inlet lease sale was based on a “lack of industry interest in leasing in the area.
” Due to “conflicting court orders that hindered work on these proposed lease sales,” the government also stopped two leases in the Gulf of Mexico region.
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management of the Interior Department has already canceled lease sales in Cook Inlet three times — in 2007, 2008, and 2011, citing “lack of industry interest” as the reason for the cancellations.
The Department of the Interior is required by law to follow a five-year leasing strategy when auctioning offshore leases. These lease sales were to be completed by the conclusion of the current five-year plan, which is slated to expire at the end of next month.
The White House had been mute on the big Alaska lease until today. However, revoking the sale would be consistent with President Joe Biden’s campaign commitments to combat global warming. However, in the face of rising gas prices, such promises have become a political hurdle.
“They don’t want to be singled out by the Republicans because of the high gas costs,” one environmentalist on the condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the subject. “They’re being killed by inflation-related attacks. High gas costs are the most evident symptom of inflation.”
A top environmental official showed her hand in an email that copied a correspondent, revealing the precarious political situation. White House national climate adviser Gina McCarthy wrote: “The sale of Cook Inlet has been canceled. It is not moving forward.”
McCarthy had gotten ahead of herself, said another White House official almost immediately. Officials from the Interior Department stated no final decision had been made. However, with time running out, the department delivered its announcement on Wednesday.
The termination of the Cook Inlet lease, according to Frank Macchairola, a top official with the American Petroleum Institute, the country’s largest oil and gas trade association, is “another evidence of the administration’s lack of commitment to oil and gas production in the US.”
“While the President has spoken about the need for more market supply, his administration has failed to take action to match that language,” Macchairola said, adding that it would “not play well” politically.
“There are political and practical ramifications to shutting down oil and gas development in the kind of price environment we’re facing,” he said.
According to AAA, the national average price of regular gas reached an all-time high of $4.40 on Wednesday.
The decision was welcomed by environmental groups. The Alaska offshore leasing agreement would have provided drilling opportunities across more than 1 million acres for 40 years or more. In the environmentally vulnerable location, the new activity would have resulted in new undersea pipelines and platforms.
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According to Drew Caputo, vice president of litigation for lands, animals, and oceans at environmental advocacy group Earthjustice, it would take more than a decade for those leases to affect gas prices.
“It’s beneficial for the climate,” Caputo remarked, “which can’t take additional oil and gas development.” “Because offshore drilling is dangerous and disruptive, it’s excellent for Cook Inlet.
It’s also good for the residents of Cook Inlet, including natives, who value the inlet’s natural status. As a result, it’s a fantastic thing.”
Nonetheless, any choice that is detrimental to oil and gas has political implications. Mr. Biden’s approval rating is lowest when it comes to the economy and inflation, according to a recent poll, with 69 percent of those polled disapproving of his handling of inflation.
Sixty-five percent of those polled said the president “could do more” to bring down gas prices.
In a statement, American Petroleum Institute senior vice president Frank Macchiarola stated, “Unfortunately, this is starting to become a pattern: the administration talks about the need for increased supply while restricting it.
We urge the government to remove the uncertainty and act swiftly on a new five-year program for federal offshore leasing, while geopolitical unpredictability and global energy prices continue to climb.”
Environmentalists, on the other hand, feel that the climate issue is far too vital to be distracted by political wrangling.
“According to scientists, the moment to transition from fossil fuel energy is not years away,” Caputo added. “It is now. Offshore oil leasing must be phased out.”