Once again the Biden administration is getting attacked by both political parties.
President Biden was known as a bumbling, racist moderate Democrat for almost 4 decades in the U.S. Senate. Then suddenly once he was pushed out of his easy chair, slurping his Jello, to run for president, Biden became one of the most radical politicians in U.S. history overnight.
With the U.S. continuing to have punishing energy prices, especially gasoline, the democrats’ poll numbers are universally heading south. You would think Biden would have already opened up energy production again trying to turn the tide and save the Democratic majority in Congress this November.
The one thing that keeps Joe from acting has been, the “up and coming” in his party, who are radical social and environmental justice activists. They want zero emissions yesterday and will fight any effort to increase energy produced by fossil fuels.
With this in mind, the Biden administration is under fire for opening the door to selling new leases on public lands for oil and natural gas drilling but at a higher cost to producers, resulting in opposition from climate groups and the energy industry alike.
The Department of the Interior (DOI) announced Friday it was resuming fossil fuel lease sales for the first time since President Biden took office, a significant move that seeks to increase domestic energy production amid high prices at the pump.
However, it will take years for any new energy to be produced as a result, and federal royalties for drilling companies will be increased for the first time in a century from 12.5% to 18.75%. It will likely create billions in new revenue but infringes on then-candidate Biden‘s promise for no new federal drilling leases.
Advocates for aggressive action on climate change said the move by the administration is yet another example of it failing to achieve its environmental goals amid Mr. Biden’s stalled climate agenda in Congress.
Meanwhile, the energy industry said the raise in leasing fees would disincentivize new drilling and was another case of mixed messaging from the administration on its energy policies.
DOI will auction off roughly 173 parcels on about 144,000 acres next week in nine states: Alabama, Colorado, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Utah, and Wyoming. That amount represents an 80% reduction from the acreage originally nominated for leasing by energy companies, another point of criticism from the industry.
“For too long, the federal oil and gas leasing programs have prioritized the wants of extractive industries above local communities, the natural environment, the impact on our air and water, the needs of Tribal Nations, and, moreover, other uses of our shared public lands,” DOI Secretary Deb Haaland said in a statement Friday. “Today, we begin to reset how and what we consider to be the highest and best use of Americans’ resources for the benefit of all current and future generations.”
The announcement came late in the afternoon on Good Friday just two days before Easter Sunday, most likely looking to minimize the media coverage.
This decision violates one of the Biden campaign’s key campaign pledges. Mr. Biden said he would work to end fossil fuel drilling on public lands to combat climate change. Environmental activists and supporters within his own party are now questioning whether his promises to combat a warming planet will come to fruition.
“Allowing drilling on public lands won’t solve price gouging by oil companies. So why is @JoeBiden going back on his word?” tweeted Sunrise Movement, a political action group that advocates on climate change issues. “To stop the climate crisis, we need to move towards 100% renewable energy, not deepening our dependence on fossil fuels.”
The energy industry, as well as its Republican allies on Capitol Hill, were also none too pleased, despite longtime calls to resume lease sales in an effort to ramp up production. Jeff Eshelman, the chief operating officer of the Independent Petroleum Association of America, described the announcement as a “mixed message and strangely incoherent.”
“This administration has begged for more oil from foreign nations, blames American energy producers for price gouging and sitting on leases. Now, on a late holiday announcement, under pressure, it announces a lease sale with major royalty increases that will add uncertainty to drilling plans for years,” Mr. Eshelman said. “To put it simply, America, under this administration, has no coherent energy policy.”
— Jeffrey Eshelman (@jeffeshelman) April 15, 2022
Sen. John Barrasso, Wyoming Republican and ranking member of the Senate Energy Committee, also offered a strong rebuke. He accused the Biden administration of “still doing all it can” to restrict energy production.
“First it was an illegal moratorium imposed at the start of his presidency. Now it’s this proposal to dramatically increase the cost of onshore leases while cutting the acres offered for lease by 80 percent,” Mr. Barrasso said. “The president claims he’s doing nothing to limit domestic production, but once again his administration is making American energy more expensive and harder to produce.”
Basement Joe at this point is forced to give the impression he is allowing for more drilling.
When the companies finally get the new oil rigs producing barrels of crude, the government will get a big boost in revenues from the royalties.