The Biden administration is mulling the prospect of banning new American offshore oil and natural gas drilling projects as fuel prices continue to spike, The New York Times reported Thursday.
The Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, working closely with the White House to shape policy, will release its drafted five-year plan for new oil and gas drilling leases in federal waters to Congress by June 30, according to The New York Times, citing people familiar with the matter. The administration is likely to stop new offshore drilling projects in the Atlantic and the Pacific, and is considering whether to end leasing in the Arctic and Gulf of Mexico.
The U.S. depends on Russia to supply key minerals used in technology and defense industries, but the Russia-Ukraine war and Western economic punishment of Russia have suppressed supply lines, according to a report from Defense News.
Russia and Ukraine supply a large percentage of minerals like neon and aluminum that the U.S. uses in civilian and military applications, Deborah Rosenblum, a Pentagon acting spokesperson who works on industrial base policy, told Defense News. Sanctions levied on Russian companies and a war-related drop in mineral production have put these supply chains in jeopardy, she said.
The Biden administration asked a federal court this week to uphold its ban on new federal oil and gas leasing, according to Department of Justice (DOJ) court filings.
The administration argued the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana should toss an April 29 motion from more than a dozen states asking the presiding judge to permanently nix the leasing ban, according to the Monday filings. The Louisiana court placed an injunction on the ban in June 2021, forcing the federal government to hold oil and gas lease sales until a final ruling was issued in the case.
Amid an ongoing energy crisis nationwide, two environmental law groups are suing the Biden administration to block over 3,500 oil and gas leases that were previously greenlit in Wyoming and New Mexico.
Represented by the Western Environmental Law Center, the Center for Biological Diversity and WildEarth Guardians are suing the Department of the Interior (DOI) and its Secretary Deb Haaland, as well as the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and its Director Tracy Stone-Manning. The government is violating the Endangered Species Act and others, the groups alleged Wednesday.
Democrats and far-left climate activists have privately complained in recent weeks that the White House climate office is increasingly blocking key priorities, Politico reported.
The White House Office of Domestic Climate Policy has prioritized politics ahead of actual progress on its own climate agenda, nine anonymous Democrats both inside and outside the White House told Politico. Some activists have even suggested that the office, headed by President Joe Biden’s climate czar Gina McCarthy, should be abolished altogether.
The Supreme Court denied a petition from 10 Republican-led states Thursday requesting it to block a key Biden administration climate policy.
The decision ensures that President Joe Biden’s so-called “social cost” of carbon policy — which assigns an estimated dollar value or cost to every ton of carbon emissions, according to the Government Accountability Office — can remain in place and be used for future federal permitting processes. The high court rejected states’ April 27 petition without giving a reason or listing which justices opposed it, according to a one-page filing published on the Supreme Court docket.
The American Petroleum Institute (API), a leading industry group, said the next offshore oil and gas lease sale likely wouldn’t come until early 2024 following the latest Biden administration update.
The Department of the Interior (DOI) announced Thursday that it would issue an updated proposed program plan for offshore lease sales by June 30. The API, though, said the announcement confirms the administration is “significantly behind” in the multi-year process required for approving a new five-year offshore plan, likely delaying lease sales until early 2024.
The Biden administration backtracked on reports that it is resuming the federal oil and gas leasing program in light of a recent appeals court decision.
On Friday, Reuters reported that the Department of the Interior (DOI), the agency tasked with overseeing the leasing program, was planning to resume the previously-delayed program. But a DOI spokesperson pushed back on the report, saying it overstated the administration’s position that it would begin planning the next steps, not that it had already resumed the program.
The Biden administration missed another deadline to hold quarterly onshore oil drilling lease sales after a federal court ruled it was legally required to do so.
The Department of the Interior (DOI) defied the June 2021 court ruling which ordered the administration to halt its ban on new oil and gas leases, the Western Energy Alliance — a fossil fuel industry group that challenged the ban — said Wednesday. In August 2021, the DOI vowed to publish notices of competitive sales in December and hold a lease sale 45 days later, two promises it failed to keep, in court filings.
The Biden administration approved two solar projects, and it is nearing approval of a third, that will power hundreds of thousands of homes in California.
Construction of the Arica and Victory Pass solar projects — the two that received administration approval — will begin immediately on a large swath of land in Riverside County, California, the Department of the Interior (DOI) announced on Tuesday. Together, the projects will cost $689 million, be able to produce 465 megawatts of electricity, store 400 megawatts of energy and power 132,000 homes.
Oberon, the third solar project mentioned in the announcement, would be built on 2,700 acres of public lands in Riverside County if approved, according to DOI. The project would generate 500 megawatts of electricity and power an additional 142,000 households.