Biden’s Top 10 Attacks on American Energy: March 2 – Biden Reviews Federal Oil and Gas Leasing to Slow Domestic Production

Biden’s Top 10 Attacks on American Energy: March 2 – Biden Reviews Federal Oil and Gas Leasing to Slow Domestic Production

December 29, 2021

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From March 2, 2021:

The Department of Interior has wasted no time laying the groundwork of Biden’s green agenda, even in the absence of a new secretary. Biden’s Interior Secretary nominee Representative Deb Haaland, outspoken climate activists, brings a lot of concern to how far left DOI policies would go under her leadership.

Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), told Ms. Haaland during her confirmation hearing last week, “I almost feel like your nomination is sort of this proxy fight over the future of fossil fuels.”

The department has already suspended lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico under Biden’s executive order that put a temporary freeze on new drilling leases on all public lands and waters and requiring a review of the leasing program. According to one administration official, the Interior Department as early as next week is poised to take the next steps in preparing review of the federal oil and gas leasing program. It has also frozen drilling activity in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) and has delayed Trump-era rollbacks. 

Nicolas Loris, an economist who focuses on environment policy at the conservative Heritage Foundation reacted to the pace of the agency’s actions, “They’re obviously moving forward quickly and aggressively.”

The New York Times reports:

Mr. Biden already has appointed nearly 50 top Interior officials across the vast agency, many of them veterans of the Obama administration, adept at pulling the levers of policy.

Perhaps the most significant driver of the agency’s most aggressive early action, supporters of the administration said, has been David Hayes, who served in both the Obama and Clinton administrations as deputy secretary of Interior. Mr. Hayes worked on Mr. Biden’s transition and ahead of Inauguration Day was tapped to be a special adviser to the president on climate change policy.

The appointments have had immediate effects. The day after Mr. Biden named a new offshore energy regulator at the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, for example, the office revived the review of an offshore wind farm near Martha’s Vineyard that the Trump administration had moved to cancel.

“Makes you wonder if they’re treating the new secretary as a figurehead and the deputies are going forward with what they had planned regardless,” said Kathleen Sgamma, president of the Western Energy Alliance, a Denver-based oil and natural gas association. 

Ms. Sgamma’s group has filed a lawsuit challenging Biden’s executive order, and isn’t the only group taking legal action against the administration’s unconstitutional acts. “In the meantime, we will expect no leasing and a slowdown in other permitted activity. That’s why this is not a pause’ on leasing,” she said, adding, “Whether you call it a ‘pause’ or a yearslong ban, it is unlawful and I like our chances in court.”