Biden’s Energy Strategy and Wishful Thinking

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The Biden administration has repeatedly decided to restrict domestic oil and gas lease sales dramatically.

As it develops policies to limit supply, the administration is draining our Strategic Petroleum Reserve and removing trade sanctions on Venezuela that will allow for the import of more of its oil.

A subtler cutback is the administration’s decision to exclude certain parcels of federal land from auction to disincentivize oil and gas lease sales. In 2023, oil and gas companies declined to bid on nearly half of the acres of public land the administration offered for drilling in Wyoming.

The president of the Petroleum Association of Wyoming in 2023 said in testimony before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources that “(Bureau of Land Management) continues to omit leases that would fill in ‘donut-holes’ in otherwise leased fields making development difficult or impossible.”

Not offering up choice land for lease could be one roundabout way the administration could achieve its stated goal of “discourag(ing) speculation by oil and gas companies.”

But this is just one way the administration limits oil and gas lease sales.

The Department of the Interior announced the cancellation of seven oil and gas leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge that were issued by the Trump administration to the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority. Interior also released a proposed rule that would limit oil and gas leasing in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska.

In September, Interior proposed a five-year plan for offshore oil and gas leasing, which the department boasted includes “the fewest oil and gas lease sales in history.”

It’s evident that in President Biden’s ideal world, Interior would have issued no leases at all if not for a provision in the Inflation Reduction Act that requires some oil and gas leasing on the Outer Continental Shelf in order to have offshore wind development.

Federal agencies choosing to restrict and outright deny new domestic oil and natural gas lease sales means that we must look to the global oil market and rely on unfriendly nations for supplies.

Read the full article on D.C. Journal.