Biden administration delays oil and gas lease sales again amid environmental protest

The Biden administration postponed sales of multiple oil and gas leases for a second time late last week amid an ongoing protest from environmental groups opposed to the sales.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the agency tasked with overseeing oil and gas development on public lands, announced Friday that the three scheduled lease sales dates for New Mexico, Colorado and Wyoming will take place at the end of the month. The three sales have already been rescheduled at once for the same reason.

“The date for this sale has changed slightly to complete the analyzes required under the National Environmental Policy Act and allow time for the protest to be resolved,” BLM said in its announcements on Friday.

BLM originally scheduled New Mexico and Colorado sales for June 16 and Wyoming sales for this week.

US in ‘recession issue’ if not already there, oil analyst warns

Additionally, a separate oil and gas lease sale in Nevada that was scheduled for June 14, two weeks earlier this month, has been postponed. Two more scheduled for June 28 in Utah and Montana have not been returned.

“Greenhouse gas pollution resulting solely from current federal development of fossil fuels and potential development from leases and drilling permits already issued but not yet produced, would contribute to catastrophic climate change and the unnecessary and unwarranted degradation of the atmosphere and other public land values ​​that the BLM considers Legally bound to protect,” a coalition of 13 environmental groups wrote in a protest filing on May 18 to challenge the Nevada sale.

Steam at a power plant in Wyoming

Steam flows from the piles at the Naughton Power Plant on January 12, 2022 in Kemmerer, Wyo. While the power plant will be closed in 2025, TerraPower has announced that Kemmerer will be the site of an experimental nuclear reactor. (AP Photo/Natalie Behring/AP Newsroom)

The groups, led by the Western Environmental Law Center, argued that management was not legally obligated to retain the sales and argued that it would need to conduct a comprehensive environmental review before proceeding. Sierra Club joined this alliance and lodged a second protest.

Biden’s holiday tax floats, but analysis shows it could exacerbate inflation

In April, the Department of the Interior (DOI) announced that it would proceed with six oil and gas lease sales as part of a revised federal lease program that reduced available land by 80% and increased royalty rates for rigs. The administration said it would suspend sales due to a federal court ruling in June 2021 that prevented President Joe Biden’s attempt to pause all new rentals.

Management has not yet sold a single internal lease in the past 18 months.

Joe Biden speaking

President Biden’s stance toward oil and gas producers has drawn criticism amid rising energy prices. (AP Photo/Lee ​​Jin-man, Pool/AP Newsroom)

Meanwhile, Republican lawmakers and fossil fuel industry groups have criticized Biden for his climate agenda. Since taking office, he has canceled the Keystone XL pipeline, backtracked on drilling at Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and pushed for green energy subsidies.

Get your FOX business on the go by clicking here

“We need to change the situation. We need to unleash American energy,” Kathy McMorris Rodgers, a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, told Fox News in an interview on June 13.

A BLM spokesperson reiterated the agency’s statement Friday in an email and referred a DOI spokesperson to Fox News Digital to BLM’s original press releases in response to an inquiry.

Leave a Comment