In what appears to be an utter disregard for the severe strain skyrocketing gas prices are having on everyday Americans, the Biden administration last week presented a five-year offshore oil and gas leasing proposal that effectively blocks new drilling in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, as the Wall Street Journal reports.
The Interior Department released the aforementioned plans on Friday evening that could permit upwards of 11 oil lease sales for offshore drilling across a five-year period, none of which would pertain to the Atlantic or Pacific regions, but which also affords the administration the option of canceling new lease sales altogether.
“From Day One, President Biden and I have made clear our commitment to transition to a clean energy economy,” a statement from Interior Secretary Deb Haaland declared.
“Today, we put forward an opportunity for the American people to consider and provide input on the future of offshore oil and gas leasing,” the statement added, according to Fox News.
Pursuant to the 1953 Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, an offshore leasing plan must be issued by the federal government every five years, and because the current plan expired Thursday, Haaland previously pledged to issue the latest version by Thursday, but without explanation from her agency, it did not materialize until Friday.
Officials from the Interior Department told the WSJ that they had not taken a specific position on the proposal and that the ensuing public comment period would provide insight that could lead to a final decision in which no new leasing is allowed.
The Friday release prompted criticism from all sides, with Brady Bradshaw of the Center for Biological Diversity saying, “President Biden campaigned on climate leadership, but he seems poised to let us down at the worst possible moment. The reckless approval of yet more offshore oil drilling would mean more oil spills, more dead wildlife and more polluted communities.”
Objecting for entirely different reasons was Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), who chairs the Energy and Natural Resources Committee and said, “Our allies across the free world are in desperate need of American oil and gas. Against this backdrop, I am disappointed to see that ‘zero’ lease sales is even an option on the table.”
“Our leasing programs are a critical component of American energy security,” Manchin added, but when pitted against the demands of radical environmentalists in his party’s left-wing, that is sadly not a concern Biden is ever likely to prioritize.