DENVER – Western Energy Alliance today denounced the Department of the Interior’s failure to meet the deadline to hold any onshore oil and natural gas lease sales in fiscal year 2021 and the agency’s continued failure to comply with the Louisiana district court order overturning the leasing ban. Yesterday marked the 45-day deadline for the agency to announce a lease sale before the end of the quarter as required by the Mineral Leasing Act, and hence, to hold any lease sales before the end of the fiscal year which ends September 30th. It also marked 60 days since Judge Terry Doughty in the Western District of Louisiana issued a preliminary injunction overturning the leasing ban.
“For six months, the Interior Department cited the Biden Ban as the reason for not holding quarterly lease sales. In the two months since the ban was overturned by a federal judge, department officials have ducked questions from lawmakers, media, and industry about when lease sales would resume. Now that the Interior Department has missed the deadline to hold any sales before October, it’s crystal clear there is no intention of complying with the judge’s order,” said Kathleen Sgamma, president of the Alliance. “At a recent Senate hearing, Interior Sec. Haaland admitted the president’s ‘ban on new leasing is still in place.’ Meanwhile, the Biden Administration has spent the summer lobbying OPEC and Russia to increase oil production. At the same time it’s encouraging foreign oil production, the Biden Administration is preventing American production and helping drive up the price Americans pay at the pump.
“Further, the Interior Department still hasn’t released the plan for conducting the ‘comprehensive review’ of the entire federal oil and natural gas program as ordered by the president. That means the last six months of the leasing ban were completely futile, as no progress has been made on the analysis that was the ostensible reason for the ban in the first place. It’s been an exercise in futility and now we have record high imports from Russia.
”We call on the administration to declare a truce with American producers and promise to back off plans to regulate us off federal lands and out of business. It’s time to announce new lease sales onshore, move forward with the offshore leasing plan, reissue the permit for KeystoneXL, and scuttle plans to move forward aggressively with myriad new regulations meant to reduce American production. Send a clear message to Wall Street that the Securities and Exchange Commission will not pursue regulations to deny the industry access to capital so that investors have more certainty about investing in American production. When the rubber meets the road, high energy prices trump unrealistic climate change policies. Don’t advantage Russian and Saudi above American producers,” added Sgamma.
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