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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.

Biden Revoked Trump’s ‘Energy Dominance’ Agenda. Now It’s Coming Back To Haunt Him

President Joe Biden’s decision to reverse a series of Trump administration energy policies have harmed American consumers amid the Ukraine crisis, former Interior Secretary David Bernhardt said.

Bernhardt, who led the Department of Interior (DOI) between 2019-2021, said Biden’s energy policies reflect activism rather than a coherent strategy to ensure low prices and sufficient supply for Americans. Fossil fuel industry groups and Republican lawmakers have repeatedly blamed the Biden administration for rising energy prices slamming consumers in recent weeks.

The average price of gasoline ticked up to $4.19 a gallon on Monday, remaining near its all-time high of more than $4.30 per gallon set in April, according to Energy Information Administration data.

“As a candidate, President Biden was very, very clear that he had a different energy vision than the vision of energy independence — even energy dominance — that Trump had,” Bernhardt told the Daily Caller News Foundation in an interview.

“President Biden campaigned with a very different vision,” he continued. “His vision, I think to say fairly, would be a vision of climate activism over energy independence or energy dominance.”

Bernhardt added that Interior Secretary Deb Haaland has filled the DOI with “some of the most activist folks that could have possibly been chosen.” He said the agency is largely crafting energy policies based upon Biden’s directives.

Shortly after taking office in January 2021, Biden issued a series of climate-related executive orders, canceling the Keystone XL pipeline permit and issuing a moratorium on new federal oil and gas leasing, following up on a campaign promise to “get rid of fossil fuels.” The Biden administration has yet to hold an onshore lease sale even after a federal court ruled the moratorium was illegal.

Haaland revoked a dozen key Trump administration energy policies in compliance with Biden’s executive orders in an April 2021 secretarial order. The DOI’s “American Energy Independence,” “Supporting and Improving the Federal Onshore Oil and Gas Leasing Program and Federal Solid Mineral Leasing Program” and “Executive Committee for Expedited Permitting” were among the policies reversed.

“I’m hopeful that these steps will help make clear that we, as a Department, have a mandate to act,” Haaland said at the time.

But Bernhardt pointed to both the lack of drilling and decline in applications for permit to drill (APD) issued by the Biden administration.

“If you look at the number of APDs issued in December 2020 and then compare that to December of 2021, you will see a nearly 80% reduction in APDs issued even though over 4,000 APD requests,” Bernhardt told the DCNF. “And if you look at the length of time it currently takes to do the processing of APDs and let’s say you looked at it between fiscal year 20 and fiscal year 21, you will see a lengthening.”

The U.S. increased domestic oil production during the Trump administration from 8.9 million barrels of oil per day to nearly 13 million barrels of oil per day between 2016-2019, according to Energy Information Administration data. The nation became a net exporter of total energy in 2019 — factoring in oil, coal and natural gas trade — for the first time in nearly eight decades.

The U.S., though, is projected to return to net oil importer status under the Biden administration in 2022. Production has decreased since November to about 11.3 million barrels a day.

AUTHOR

THOMAS CATENACCI

Energy and environment reporter. Follow Thomas on Twitter

RELATED ARTICLE: Biden Admin Says Oil Production Is At Historic Levels. But There’s One Problem

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.