President Joe Biden and his administration have talked about the need to increase the supply of oil in order to reverse the spike in gas and diesel prices.
But, as FOX Business reports, at the same time the administration has acted to restrict oil and gas drilling and exploration.
To the latter point, the Department of the Interior on Thursday moved to cancel new oil and gas drilling leases on tracts of land in Alaska and in the Gulf of Mexico, even as American consumers experience record-high fuel prices in some areas.
The outlet reports:
The DOI halted the potential to drill for oil in over 1 million acres in Alaska’s Cook Inlet, along with two lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico. The move comes as Biden has taken a few actions to combat high gas prices, despite his administration’s generally hostile approach to the oil industry.
“Due to lack of industry interest in leasing in the area, the Department will not move forward with the proposed Cook Inlet OCS oil and gas lease sale 258,” a DOI spokesperson told FOX Business in a statement.
“The Department also will not move forward with lease sales 259 and 261 in the Gulf of Mexico region, as a result of delays due to factors including conflicting court rulings that impacted work on these proposed lease sales,” the spokesperson noted further.
The spokesperson also told FOX Business that “there are 10.9 million acres of offshore federal waters already under lease to industry,” and “of those, the industry is not producing on more than three-quarters (75.7% or 8.26 million acres).”
Within his first week in office, President Biden signed an executive order temporarily suspending new oil and gas leases on federal lands. He also canceled the Keystone XL pipeline which former President Donald Trump approved.
While a “source familiar with the Cook Inlet lease confirmed to FOX Business that the DOI received no comments indicating specific company interest in leasing during the scoping period,” former Trump administration officials and others say the real problem is Biden: He simply does not want to expand oil and gas drilling and has proven as much by his actions.
Steve Milloy, a former Trump-Pence EPA transition member and founder of JunkScience.com, linked the latest cancelations back to Biden in remarks to the business news outlet.
“In Alaska, the problem was that the greens scared off virtually everyone,” Milloy said. “It’s expensive to explore and drill, and the greens made it pretty clear, they were going to make it even more difficult.”
FOX News added:
When former President Trump opened Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for drilling, the lease sale attracted only three bidders, including the state of Alaska itself. Environmental activists have opposed ANWR drilling for decades, and Milloy suggested that pressure from climate activists scared oil companies away. That sale also took place in early 2021, amid the COVID-19 economic recession and when Biden – who had campaigned on restricting the oil industry – was about to become president.
“I blame Biden for all lack of production. He has scared away investment,” Milloy told FOX Business. “I don’t trust him in court defending leasing,” he added, going on the say that Biden will find “any excuse to not drill. They even tried to use the social cost of carbon decision to stop leasing.”
“Unfortunately, this is becoming a pattern – the administration talks about the need for more supply and acts to restrict it,” Frank Macchiarola, senior vice president of policy, economics and regulatory affairs at the American Petroleum Institute, noted in a Thursday statement to FOX Business. “As geopolitical volatility and global energy prices continue to rise, we again urge the administration to end the uncertainty and immediately act on a new five-year program for federal offshore leasing.”