Friday, November 19, 2021

Why the Biden administration is reopening oil and gas leasing in the Gulf of Mexico

 One of President Joe Biden's boldest environmental campaign promises was to ban new oil and natural gas leasing on public land and water. But on Wednesday his administration will open more than 80 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico to auction for drilling.

The auction is at odds with Biden's climate agenda -- the President has also promised to slash greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030 -- and environmental advocates say it could set US climate goals back for years.

The administration tried in its first days in office to put a stop to new oil and gas drilling. On January 27, Biden signed an executive order that paused new permits and directed the Department of Interior to launch a "rigorous review" of existing programs related to fossil fuel development.

But a lawsuit filed in March on behalf of 13 states led to a judgment that blocked Biden's pause.

...Brettny Hardy, an attorney with the environmental nonprofit Earthjustice leading a lawsuit against the Interior Department, argued the Biden administration could have filed a more aggressive appeal in court, declined to hold the sale this week or withdrawn some of the areas in the Gulf from leasing.

"The sale is going to lock in [oil and gas] production for years to come," Hardy told CNN. "By that time, we need to be moving away from fossil fuels in order to survive. This lease sale is a really critical juncture and is sending us in the exact opposite direction."...MORE

I'm sure high gas prices and the recent election returns had nothing to do with this.

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