WASHINGTON – The Biden administration on Friday recommended a radical overhaul of the country’s oil and gas leasing program to focus on areas best suited for energy development and the energy to drill on public land and water. Increase costs for companies.
The long-awaited report by the Interior Department falls short of recommending ending oil and gas leases on public lands, as urged by several environmental groups. But officials said the report would move toward a more responsible leasing process that provides a better return to US taxpayers for oil and gas drilling on the country’s vast public lands and waters.
“Our country is facing a profound climate crisis that is affecting every American,” Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said in a statement, adding that the new report’s recommendations will provide reasonable returns to taxpayers and mitigate worsening climate impacts. Persevering in the pursuit of “Environmental Justice”.
The report complements a review ordered in January by President Joe Biden, who directed a pause in federal oil and gas lease sales in his first days in office, citing concerns about climate change.
The moratorium drew sharp criticism from Congressional Republicans and the oil industry, even as many environmentalists and Democrats said Biden should make the lease permanent.
The new report seeks a middle ground that will continue the multi-billion dollar leasing program by reforming it to end terms overly favorable to the industry by many executives.
The leasing program has attracted renewed attention in recent weeks as gasoline prices skyrocketed and Republicans complained about leasing moratoriums, rejection of the Keystone XL oil pipeline and oil leasing restrictions in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Biden policies, including that, have contributed to the price spike. ,
Biden on Tuesday ordered the release of a record 50 million barrels of oil from US strategic reserves, aimed at spurring gas prices amid inflation concerns. According to the American Automobile Association, gasoline prices are around $3.40 per gallon, up 50% from a year ago.
The Biden administration last week held a lease sale on federal oil and gas reserves in the Gulf of Mexico, after Republican-led states’ attorney generals successfully sued in federal court to lift a suspension on federal oil and gas sales. sued, when Biden took The Office.