Offshore Leasing Plan Arrives Months Late and Punishes American Industries
WASHINGTON, D.C., September 29, 2023 | Committee Press Office (202-225-2761)
Today, the Department of Interior released a five-year offshore leasing plan 457 days late. House Committee on Natural Resources Chairman Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) released the following statement in response:
"It's absolutely infuriating to see the administration's blatant favoritism in action this morning. The proposed final program, with three potential oil and gas lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico is nothing short of a slap in the face to the American taxpayer. And for what? This plan will go down as one of the great blunders of the Biden administration. American consumers will pay the price for this administration’s decision to prioritize its offshore wind leasing program over the backbone of our energy sector. Congress must act to ensure the future of our offshore leasing program in the wake of this disastrous decision. Publishing this plan more than a year late while depleting our strategic energy reserves to make up for it is the type of lose-lose policymaking that's become the Biden administration's calling card. Families are struggling to keep gas in their tanks yet President Biden refuses to access the abundant energy resources in our own backyard. Republicans are delivering real solutions for the American people like the Lower Energy Costs Act while Biden wages war on domestic energy producers. American families pay the cost."
The Department of the Interior (DOI) oversees the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and is responsible for issuing regular five-year plans for offshore oil and natural gas leasing. As of today, BOEM is over one year late in issuing a new plan and has put American jobs and the economy at risk. Without a timely plan, investment and development will stagnate, jeopardizing future production. This is the first time DOI has issued a delayed plan since the process was first initiated in 1980.
The Biden administration was more than 450 days late in releasing their five-year program for offshore oil and gas leasing. This delay not only jeopardizes energy investment and numerous American industries but also allows our adversaries to take the lead in global energy production.
The Biden administration has not conducted any new lease sales, apart from those required under the Inflation Reduction Act that include inflated royalty rates and have even pulled down several legally mandated lease sales too. This inaction has reduced investment, threatened future supply and disadvantaged domestic producers.
The delay in completing the five-year program and holding lease sales has left Congress, industry and taxpayers in the dark and created a void which OPEC+ nations have been more than happy to fill. The House Committee on Natural Resources is committed to holding agencies accountable when they fail to meet basic deadlines and jeopardize our national and energy security.Over the course of the 118th Congress, the House Committee on Natural Resources has worked to support American energy independence through the passage of H.R. 1, the Lower Energy Costs Act. The committee has also held field hearings and advanced other pieces of legislation to remove regulatory burdens and conduct oversight of the Biden administration's policies. Yesterday, the committee also considered the BRIDGE Production Act which would mandate four offshore oil and gas sales to be held in 2024 and 2025 and helps reduce regulatory burdens and delays to American energy production caused by the Biden administration.
Sign up to receive news, updates and insights directly to your inbox.