The Biden administration missed its own deadline to schedule the next oil and gas lease sales on Thursday, but it did not provide an explanation.
Deb Haaland, the secretary of the interior, promised to release a legally required program describing prospective offshore lease sales over the following five years by Thursday during a Senate session on May 19. Interior Department (DOI) spokeswoman Melissa Schwartz said the organization was "on schedule" to release the plan by Thursday on Wednesday.
A statement was supposed to be made on Thursday, but it was postponed for an unspecified reason.
"President Biden is hell-bent on choking off American oil and natural gas production," Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member John Barrasso, R-Wyo. said. "Now he has failed to follow the law and prepare a final five-year leasing plan by yesterday’s deadline. That means the federal government will not offer any new offshore oil and gas lease sales this year."
"This will be the first year since 1958 that has happened. Instead, the Biden administration has spent its time courting overseas dictators," he added. "The White House has begged countries like Russia, Iran, and Venezuela for oil. It’s an absolute disgrace."
On Thursday, the most current plan, which started in 2017, came to an end. Offshore lease sales, which last year produced more than 1.7 million barrels of oil per day, cannot take place without a plan.
"The inability of Interior to meet its own June 30th deadline of releasing the Proposed Program is yet another reminder of the administration failing in its statutory obligation to develop and maintain an offshore oil and gas leasing program. Interior has had 17 months to release the Final Program, not just the Proposed Program that they promised would be out yesterday," sai National Ocean Industries Association President Erik Milito.
"No other administration has failed in this way," he continued. "Until now, every administration, whether Democrat or Republican, has recognized the critical, strategic advantages of continued U.S. offshore oil and gas production that are achieved through an uninterrupted national leasing program."
The administration's actions, according to Milito, amounted to "intentional obstruction" of American energy development. He claimed that they would result in higher gas prices and have a severe influence on the nation's security, international geopolitics, energy security, and well-paying jobs nationwide.
The only offshore transaction the Biden administration has conducted since assuming office was later overturned by a federal court on the basis of environmental concerns. Three further transactions that were included in the now-expired plan were canceled by the administration.
Republican legislators and business organizations have frequently cited the administration's climate policy as the cause of nearly record-high gas prices. According to figures from AAA, the national average gas price on Friday reached $4.84 per gallon.