Biden Admin Releases Most Restrictive Offshore Oil And Gas Drilling Plan In US History

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Nick Pope Contributor
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The Biden administration on Friday unveiled the most restrictive offshore oil and gas five-year leasing program in history.

The Department of the Interior (DOI) announced the plan, which allows for three offshore oil and gas lease sales through 2029, with sales in 2025, 2027 and 2029. That schedule represents the lowest number of sales that the administration could have pursued while maintaining its ability to push offshore wind development under provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), and it is the “smallest number of oil and gas lease sales in history,” according to Interior Secretary Deb Haaland.

“The Biden-Harris administration is committed to building a clean energy future that ensures America’s energy independence,” Haaland said of the schedule’s release.

The decision is in line with the Biden administration’s sweeping climate agenda, which aims to reach net-zero carbon dioxide emissions in the U.S. energy sector by 2035 and for the entire U.S. economy by 2050.

“The release of the U.S. offshore leasing program, mandated by law and long overdue, is an utter failure for the country,” National Ocean Industries Association President Erik Milito said of the schedule. “The White House simply ignores our energy realities in once again limiting U.S. energy production opportunities. With global demand at record levels and continuing to rise, regressive policies like this serve to harm Americans of all walks of life.” (RELATED: Federal Judge Delivers Blow To Biden Admin’s Efforts To Restrict Offshore Oil And Gas Drilling)

The plan is deliberately designed to “phase down” offshore oil and gas in the Gulf of Mexico, according to the DOI. Offshore oil production in federally controlled Gulf waters accounted for about 15% of total U.S. crude oil output in 2021, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

The plan is also likely to draw the ire of numerous environmentalist groups that wanted the administration not to issue any offshore oil and gas leases at all, according to Bloomberg News. The pared-down schedule’s release follows a strong rally of oil prices in recent months, with the per-barrel price of oil nearing $100 as prices at the pump remain high for American consumers.

“At a time when inflation runs rampant across the country, the Biden administration is choosing failed energy policies that are adding to the pain Americans are feeling at the pump,” American Petroleum Institute President and CEO Mike Sommers said of the schedule. “This restrictive offshore leasing program is the latest tactic in a coordinated strategy to reduce energy production, ultimately weakening America’s energy dominance, limiting consumers access to affordable reliable energy and compromising our ability to lead on the global stage.”

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management referred the Daily Caller News Foundation to the DOI press release when reached for comment. The DOI and the White House did not respond immediately to requests for comment.

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