Environmentalists hit out as Biden sneaks news of potential drilling in Gulf, Alaska before holiday weekend

US Department of the Interior identifies 11 potential leases from 2023 to 2028

<p>Unused oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010</p>

Unused oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010

Environmentalists hit out at the White House after the US Department of the Interior released a proposed five-year plan for offshore drilling on Friday, ahead of the 4 July holiday weekend.

In the plan, the agency has slimmed down a prior draft released during the Trump administration to 11 potential leases between 2023 and 2028, down from 47.

One environmental group was quick to criticise the proposal, however.

“The Biden administration had an opportunity to meet the moment on climate and end new offshore oil leasing in Interior’s five-year program,” said Drew Caputo, vice president of litigation at the non-profit Earthjustice via a statement.

“Instead, its proposal to serve up a bunch of new offshore oil lease sales is a failure of climate leadership and a breach of their climate promises.”

The proposal includes up to 10 lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico and one in Alaska’s Cook Inlet, with none in the Atlantic or Pacific. The previous draft, released during the Trump administration, had 47 potential sales in Alaska and the Gulf, as well as the Atlantic and Pacific.

“The proposed plan puts forward several options from no lease sales up to 11 lease sales over the next five years,” Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland said in a press statement.

“A Proposed Program is not a decision to issue specific leases or to authorize any drilling or development,” she added.

Prices are displayed on a gas pump outside of a gas station in Washington, DC, on June 14, 2022

The proposal comes the same week as the Supreme Court curtailed the US Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector, seen as a setback for climate action.

The announcement on Friday sets a public comment period lasting for three months before the plan is presented to Congress.

Skyrocketing gas prices have put pressure on the Biden administration to explore additional measures to ease the pain at the pump ahead of the crucial 2022 midterm elections. Still, Secretary Haaland added in her statement that the Biden administration is committed to a clean energy future.

“From Day One, President Biden and I have made clear our commitment to transition to a clean energy economy. Today, we put forward an opportunity for the American people to consider and provide input on the future of offshore oil and gas leasing. The time for the public to weigh in on our future is now.”

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in