Biden Admin Locks In Skimpiest Offshore Oil And Gas Leasing Schedule In US History As Prices Remain High At The Pump

(Photo by Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images)

Daily Caller News Foundation logo
Nick Pope Contributor
Font Size:

The Biden administration finalized the most restrictive offshore oil and gas five-year leasing schedule in U.S. history on Friday as the national average retail gas price remains high for American consumers.

The Department of the Interior (DOI), which oversees the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), announced that it is finalizing the leasing schedule, which meets the bare minimum acreage required by the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) in order for the administration to issue offshore wind leases, according to the DOI. The 2024-2029 schedule only features three lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico, with no sales scheduled for any other area off the country’s shores; DOI finalized the plan as the national average per-gallon price at the pump hovers at around $3.10.

BOEM’s finalized plan is a far cry from the schedule that former President Donald Trump and his administration were crafting, which would have allowed for 47 lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico and beyond, including in the Pacific Ocean and off the Alaskan coast. The three leases— scheduled to take place in 2025, 2027 and 2029— amount to just over 60 million acres in total, which is the threshold that the administration is required to meet in order to continue issuing offshore wind leases to advance its sweeping climate agenda. (RELATED: Biden Admin Delays Offshore Oil Lease Weeks After Easing Sanctions On Socialist Regime)

“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 proposed schedule in September. “The White House simply ignores our energy realities in once again limiting U.S. energy production opportunities.”

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. As the Gulf of Mexico’s oil is considered less carbon-intensive to produce than oil from most other regions, diminished production in the affected zone could be replaced by more carbon-intensive barrels from elsewhere in the world, according to the American Petroleum Institute.

“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,” American Petroleum Institute President and CEO Mike Sommers said of the schedule in September.

Several prominent environmentalist groups have praised the schedule, but they also assert that it does not go far enough to totally eliminate offshore oil and gas activity in American waters.

“The Biden-Harris administration is committed to building a clean energy future that ensures America’s energy independence,” Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland said in September. “The Proposed Final Program, which represents the smallest number of oil and gas lease sales in history, sets a course for the Department to support the growing offshore wind industry and protect against the potential for environmental damage and adverse impacts to coastal communities.”

BOEM and the White House did not respond immediately to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s requests for comment.

All content created by the Daily Caller News Foundation, an independent and nonpartisan newswire service, is available without charge to any legitimate news publisher that can provide a large audience. All republished articles must include our logo, our reporter’s byline and their DCNF affiliation. For any questions about our guidelines or partnering with us, please contact