(FamilyConservationPAC.com) – The Biden administration on Wednesday announced the first-ever offshore “wind lease sale” by the federal government in the Gulf of Mexico.
Businesses can bid on Gulf Coast locations to generate wind energy and support the “clean energy transition” in America.
The announcement comes at a time when the quantity of offshore oil and gas leases awarded under the Biden presidency has reached historic lows.
According to the American Petroleum Institute, the Biden administration has leased 1.7 million offshore acres for oil and gas in its first two years, less than any other president since President Richard Nixon and about a third of what President Barack Obama’s first two years saw (API).
That figure demonstrates how successfully the Biden administration has adhered to Biden’s pledge to drastically reduce new oil and gas exploration. Biden famously pledged “no more drilling on federal lands, no more drilling, even offshore” while running for office.
Yet, Biden’s administration is attempting to make up for the stalled offshore oil and gas leases with its most recent offshore wind sale.
The announcement is a part of the drive to “build America’s clean energy economy,” according to a statement released on Wednesday by Biden’s Department of the Interior.
Interior Secretary Deb Haaland stated, “America’s clean energy transition is happening right here and now.” The Department is taking steps to kickstart the offshore wind industry and use American innovation to provide families and businesses with dependable, cheap power.”
The Interior Secretary also claimed to have previously held three offshore wind leasing auctions, two off California and New York coasts.
It was stated that three locations off Lake Charles, Louisiana, and Galveston, Texas, will be up for auction during the Gulf of Mexico lease sale.
The government stated that Interior will consider several environmental and “equity” factors while evaluating leasing requests.
For instance, Interior stated that while conducting its wind leasing auctions, it will consider Biden’s executive order on “Advancing Racial Equality and Assistance for Underserved Areas Via the Federal Government.”
The Department of the Interior is
“considering lease provisions to ensure that communities, particularly underserved communities, are considered and engaged early and frequently throughout the offshore wind energy development process, that potential impacts and benefits from lessees’ projects are documented, and that lessees’ project proposals are informed by or altered to address those impacts and benefits.”
To mitigate “any negative consequences to commercial and for-hire recreational fishers caused by offshore wind construction in the Gulf of Mexico,” the government will also require businesses to contribute to a fisheries compensatory mitigation fund.
A summary of the lessees’ “interaction with Tribes and ocean users possibly impacted by anticipated offshore wind activities” will also be required.
Only sales of offshore oil and gas leases mandated by Congress or the courts occurred during Biden’s first two years in office. Also, the Biden administration let the federal government’s five-year plan for offshore oil and gas leasing expire late last year for the first time ever.
Unless a new plan is in place, it will be challenging to sign new offshore leases.
According to API, the oil and gas industry needs time in advance to scout locations and look for energy reserves in the Gulf and elsewhere. Biden’s slowdown in offshore lease sales for oil and gas is causing a great deal of uncertainty in the sector, which could lead to future issues with the energy supply.
Megan Bloomgren, senior vice president for communications at API, stated this month that “a hiatus in the federal offshore leasing program may imperil American energy security, lose thousands of jobs, and risk billions in lost federal, state, and local income.”
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