President Joe Biden has repeatedly slammed the U.S. fossil fuel industry for allegedly profiting while Americans are suffering from high gas prices, and he resists expanding refinery capacity, even as he continues to hobble producers, including delaying lease sales to appease environmental activists. [bold, links added]
The Biden administration delayed multiple oil and gas lease sales a second time late last week amid an ongoing protest from environmental groups opposing the sales.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the agency tasked with overseeing oil and gas development on public lands, announced Friday the dates for three lease sales slated for New Mexico, Colorado, and Wyoming would take place at the end of the month. The three sales had already been rescheduled once before for the same reason.
“The date for this sale has shifted slightly to complete the analyses required under the National Environmental Policy Act and allow time for protest resolution,” the BLM said in its announcements Friday. The BLM originally scheduled the New Mexico and Colorado sales for June 16 and the Wyoming sale for this week.
In addition, a separate oil and gas lease sale in Nevada scheduled for June 14 was delayed two weeks earlier this month. Two others set for June 28 in Utah and Montana haven’t been pushed back.
“I can say with full certainty, based on conversations as recently as last night, that Alaska’s industry does have interest in lease sales in Cook Inlet. To claim otherwise is simply false, not to mention stunningly short-sighted.”
— Sen. @lisamurkowski https://t.co/krk2G8wEZh
— Michael Shellenberger (@ShellenbergerMD) June 22, 2022
A coalition of 13 environmental activist groups wrote in a May 18 challenge to the Nevada sale:
Greenhouse gas pollution resulting only from existing federal fossil fuel development and potential development from leases and drilling permits already issued but not yet under production, would contribute to catastrophic climate change and unnecessary and undue degradation to the atmosphere and other public lands values that BLM is legally obligated to protect.
Fox News reported that the Western Environmental Law Center opposed the sale and said an “extensive environmental review” was needed before the sale should proceed.
The Sierra Club joined the center and filed a second challenge.
“The administration has yet to hold a single onshore lease sale over the last 18 months,” Fox News reported.
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