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Biden May Not Hold Any Offshore Oil And Gas Leases Until The End Of His Term, Industry Group Says

The American Petroleum Institute (API), a leading industry group, said the next offshore oil and gas lease sale likely wouldn’t come until early 2024 following the latest Biden administration update.

The Department of the Interior (DOI) announced Thursday that it would issue an updated proposed program plan for offshore lease sales by June 30. The API, though, said the announcement confirms the administration is “significantly behind” in the multi-year process required for approving a new five-year offshore plan, likely delaying lease sales until early 2024.

The Interior Department declined to comment and referred TheDCNF to DOI Secretary Deb Haaland’s testimony on Capitol Hill Thursday.

“The practical effect of this is that it is unlikely there will be offshore lease sales before the end of 2023,” said Frank Macchiarola, API’s senior vice president of policy, economics and regulatory affairs. “This is one more example of the disconnect between the administration’s political rhetoric and policy reality.”

He added that the announcement was the latest in a series of “mixed signals on energy policy” from the administration.

The current five-year offshore plan is set to expire in late June, meaning the DOI is supposed to have a finalized plan, not proposed program, by that time. The federal government is required to issue a plan outlining all proposed offshore lease sales every five years under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act.

“Joe Biden has been lying all along,” Steve Milloy, a former Trump administration transition official and JunkScience.com founder, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “He said that he’s doing everything he can to lower gas prices. The only way to do that is to increase production and he’s doing everything he can to reduce production.”

“The overall tone since day one has been to discourage oil and gas investment,” Milloy continued.

The first lease sale under the current plan took place on Aug. 16, 2017, 519 days after the Obama administration published its proposed program. Based on that timeline, the earliest possible lease sale under the Biden administration plan would take place in December 2023 if the DOI published a proposed program on June 30 as it promised Thursday.

But industry groups suggested the administration’s hostility toward fossil fuels would likely lead to further delays stretching into 2024.

“Interior has had 16 months to fulfill its statutory obligation to develop and maintain an offshore oil and gas leasing program and it has failed,” National Ocean Industries Association President Erik Milito said in a statement. “No other administration has failed in this way.”

In addition, Haaland blamed the Trump administration for the delays on Thursday.

“The previous Administration stopped work on the new five-year plan in 2018, so there has been a lot to do to catch up,” Haaland said during a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing.

However, the Obama administration issued a proposed program 411 days after issuing a draft plan in 2015. President Joe Biden has been in office 484 days by comparison.

AUTHOR

THOMAS CATENACCI

Energy & environment reporter. Follow Thomas on Twitter

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EDITOR NOTE: This Daily Caller column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved. Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

Navajo Nation Slams Biden Oil Drilling Ban, Says White House Violated ‘Tribal Sovereignty’

The Navajo Nation criticized the Biden administration for banning oil and gas leasing on a large swath of New Mexico land that supported much of its community.

The tribe argued that President Joe Biden failed to properly consult it before issuing the sweeping order earlier this week. Biden and Interior Secretary Deb Haaland announced Monday that the federal government would review a new rule prohibiting oil and gas leasing within the 10-mile radius around the Chaco Culture National Historical Park in northwest New Mexico for 20 years.

Biden made the announcement during the White House Tribal Nations Summit and said the ban would “protect” the more than 200,000 acres of tribal lands covered by the rule.

“The Biden Administration bypassed previous requests to Congress for field hearings and for leaders to hear directly from our Navajo families affected in the Chaco Canyon region,” Navajo Nation Council Speaker Seth Damon said in a statement Tuesday. “It is important that the federal government consider and work with our Navajo allottees to further advance development.”

“The Administration must respect our tribal sovereignty and what the government to government relationship entails,” Damon continued.

The Navajo Nation previously opposed the ban proposed by the Biden administration, instead advocating for a 5-mile radius around the historic site, according to Damon. Fossil fuel companies return an estimated $90 million per year to Navajo mineral owners, a sum that helps support the largely low-income community, a watchdog report concluded in 2017.

“The White House is ignoring the will of the Navajo Nation, which voted overwhelmingly to support a five-mile buffer that would protect the park while enabling Navajo mineral owners to access their prime oil resources,” Kathleen Sgamma, president of the fossil fuel industry group Western Energy Alliance, said in a statement. “Oil and natural gas development is already done in a way to protect cultural resources.”

Republicans also criticized the administration’s action, noting the indirect harm it would do to Navajo families.

“In the Biden administration’s desperate attempts to appease radical environmentalists, however, they are expanding that protected perimeter to miles outside the park, jeopardizing the ability of Navajo allottees to develop their mineral rights,” House Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member Bruce Westerman said in a statement.

Westerman added that the historic park is already protected.

COLUMN BY

THOMAS CATENACCI

Energy and environment reporter. Follow Thomas on Twitter

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EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Caller column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved. Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.