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WH Admin Cancels Massive Oil And Gas Lease Sale Amid High Gas Prices
According to AAA, the Biden administration on Wednesday canceled one of the most high-profile oil and gas lease auctions pending before the Department of the Interior, as Americans confront record-high gas prices.
The Department of the Interior has put a stop to oil drilling on almost 1 million acres in Alaska’s Cook Inlet, as well as two lease auctions in the Gulf of Mexico. Despite his administration’s generally antagonistic attitude toward the oil sector, Biden has made a few steps to reduce rising gas prices.
“The Department will not move forward with the proposed Cook Inlet OCS oil and gas lease sale 258 due to a lack of industry interest in leasing in the area,” a DOI spokesperson said in a statement Thursday. “The Department will also not move forward with lease sales 259 and 261 in the Gulf of Mexico region due to delays due to factors such as conflicting court rulings that impacted work on these proposed lease sales.”
According to the spokesman, there are now 10.9 million acres of offshore federal seas under lease to industry, with the industry not producing on more than 75.7 percent of those acres, or 8.26 million acres.
The Department of the Interior is required by law to follow a five-year leasing strategy when auctioning offshore leases. The department had until June 30 to complete the sales under the current five-year plan, which was set to expire.
During the scoping stage, the DOI received no submissions suggesting particular business interest in leasing, according to a person familiar with the Cook Inlet lease.
President Biden signed an executive order temporarily banning new oil and gas leases on federal lands during his first week in office. Following judicial challenges to the moratorium, the government restarted new leases last month. The administration is appealing a decision by Trump appointment Judge James Cain, who knocked down the ban.
These lease cancellations may be traced back to President Biden, according to Steve Milloy, a former Trump-Pence EPA transition member and publisher of JunkScience.com.