Biden restarts lease program for oil, gas drilling on federal lands

President Joe Biden, in compliance with a court order, will soon restart the lease program for oil and gas drilling on federal land, the Washington Examiner reports

As will be demonstrated, though, there are strings attached.

Background

Virtually as soon as Biden entered the White House, in January 2021, he went ahead and placed a moratorium on the federal government’s oil and gas leasing, via executive order. In addition, he called for a review of the lease program and for a “reconsideration of Federal oil and gas permitting and leasing practices.”

Biden, here, was following through on a campaign promise to put an end to such leases, a promise that appealed to those Democrats who are in favor of the party’s climate change agenda.

Biden and his administration were subsequently taken to court. And, a federal court did end up putting a stop to Biden’s orders. But, the Biden administration still refrained from handing out leases.

Now, though, the Biden administration has changed its mind.

The “reset”

This week, Biden’s Interior Department released a statement announcing the resumption of the leasing program.

The department, though, is reducing the amount of federal land available by 80%. And, it is also increasing by 6.25% the royalties that it will be charging companies.

Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland put out a statement saying:

How we manage our public lands and waters says everything about what we value as a nation. For too long, the federal oil and gas leasing programs have prioritized the wants of extractive industries above local communities, the natural environment, the impact on our air and water, the needs of Tribal Nations, and, moreover, other uses of our shared public lands.

She added, “Today, we begin to reset how and what we consider to be the highest and best use of Americans’ resources for the benefit of all current and future generations.”

The “why?”

The short answer is that it is an election year and Americans are not happy with the economic situation that the country has found itself in under Biden’s leadership. As Fox News reports:

The move comes as President Biden faces gasoline price hikes and soaring inflation, each of which could prove politically catastrophic.

Biden, of course, will be criticized for the move by some members of the left – it’s already happening. But, clearly, he believes that, overall, this will help the Democrats and himself out this election season.

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