Biden administration cancels sale of oil and gas lease in Alaska

The sale would have opened up drilling potential in over one million acres in the Cook Inlet.

Jarryd Jaeger Vancouver, BC

The Biden administration has terminated the sale of a million-acre oil and gas lease in Alaska. Gas prices across the country are on the rise, a trend with many have called on the government to take measures to reverse.

One of the proposed solutions has been to increase domestic production, however the Biden administration announced Wednesday that they would be terminating the sale of a lease in Alaska that would have done just that.

According to CBS, the Department of the Interior nixed the sale due to "lack of industry interest in leasing in the area."

The sale would have opened up drilling potential in over one million acres in the Cook Inlet.

The news was welcomed by environmental activists. Those who saw the potential the sale could have had for the American people reacted differently.

As CBS reports, the American Petroleum Institute's Frank Macchairola said that the cancelling of the sale is "another example of the administration's lack of commitment to oil and gas development in the US."

"The President has spoken about the need for additional supplies in the market, but his administration has failed to take action to match that rhetoric," Macchairola said, adding that, "In the kind of price environment that we're seeing, there are negative consequences to shutting off oil and gas development, both politically and practically."

The decision is consistent with the administration's prior promises.  

An executive order signed by President Biden shortly after taking office directed the Department of the Interior "to pause new oil and natural gas leasing on public lands and offshore waters, concurrent with a comprehensive review of the federal oil and gas program."

Furthermore, Biden suggested on Monday that oil companies should be taxed on leases on federal land that they are not presently using to drill for oil.

The Biden administration has gone so far as to blame oil companies themselves for the rise in gas prices, which many have seen as a deflection of responsibility.

"Unfortunately, this is becoming a pattern," Macchairola said. "The administration talks about the need for more supply and acts to restrict it."

As CBS reports, the Department of the Interior is required by federal law to adhere to a five-year lease plan when it comes to the auction of offshore leases. That time period was set to expire at the end of June.

Macchairola urged the Biden administration "to end the uncertainty and immediately act on a new five-year program for federal offshore leasing."


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