Thanks to Court Order, Federal Oil and Gas Leasing to Resume

Thanks to Court Order, Federal Oil and Gas Leasing to Resume

August 25, 2021

In some potentially good news for the American people, Reuters reports today that the Biden administration will restart the federal oil and gas leasing program in the next week, and that a Gulf of Mexico auction could happen as soon as October. According to the article:

The filing to a Louisiana federal district court on Tuesday was in response to a motion by the state of Louisiana and 12 other states from earlier this month that sought to compel Interior to restart the leasing program and to show why it should not be held in contempt for failing to comply with the order issued weeks earlier.

Interior has “expended significant agency resources, including many hundreds of employee-hours, preparing to hold oil and gas lease sales,” the brief said.

The agency will take procedural steps by the end of this month to prepare for a sale of oil leases in the Gulf of Mexico. The auction itself is expected in October or November.

While this outcome is a positive development that should help ensure access to affordable energy, it can’t be ignored that the Biden administration is being dragged into this kicking and screaming by a federal judge.

This blog has previously noted how the administration spent two months ignoring a court order and refusing to re-open this oil and gas leasing program. As it worked to stop domestic energy exploration and extraction, the Biden administration simultaneously asked OPEC to increase their own oil and gas production to prevent even higher gasoline prices and energy shortages.

But regardless of the misguided direction the Biden administration has taken, we will at least take today’s news as one small step in the right direction.