Chair Grijalva Statement on Interior Secretary Haaland Announcement on Offshore Oil and Gas Leasing

Washington, D.C. – Natural Resources Committee Chair Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) today issued the following statement after U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) Secretary Deb Haaland announced before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee that the proposed program for the National Outer Continental Shelf Offshore Oil and Gas Leasing Program would be released by June 30, 2022.

“I’m glad the Biden administration is making progress in finalizing a new five-year offshore leasing program, but what remains to be seen is whether the location and frequency of lease sales in the proposed program will help us break our dependency on oil and gas extraction or lock us into further reliance on fossil fuels even as the climate crisis worsens,” Chair Grijalva said. “The new five-year plan must consider how drilling will affect vulnerable communities along our coasts and how new extraction will continue to fuel climate change. Given the administration’s laudable climate and environmental justice commitments, the new leasing program must include as few offshore drilling lease sales as possible. The Biden administration’s five-year plan should be a roadmap for winding down offshore oil and gas development in the United States.”

In November of last year, DOI published a report on updates necessary for the federal oil and gas leasing program, including reforms to protect taxpayers, local communities, and ecosystems from outdated leasing practices. Currently, emissions from public lands and waters make up about a quarter of U.S. carbon pollution each year. This past January, expert witnesses testified at a Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources hearing that reducing offshore oil and gas leasing significantly reduces total global greenhouse gas emissions and will help the U.S. achieve its ambitious climate goals.

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