Joe Biden Administration Cancels Oil and Gas Lease Sales in Alaska, Gulf of Mexico

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AP Photo/Andrew Harnik/David McNew/Getty

President Joe Biden’s administration has ceased all oil and gas leases to Alaska’s Cook Inlet and the Gulf of Mexico as of Wednesday night.

A spokesperson for the Interior Department said on Wednesday the “Cook Inlet lease sale would not proceed due to insufficient industry interest. Meanwhile, the planned sale of two leases, lease 259 and lease 261, in the Gulf of Mexico will not proceed due to contradictory court rulings on the leases,” according to The Hill.

When the president first took office in 2021, he signed an executive order freezing all new oil and gas leasing on federal lands only to have it struck down by Judge James Cain, a Trump appointee. After appealing the ruling, a Washington, D.C. District Court “invalidated another Gulf of Mexico lease sold by the federal government, lease 257.” The Alaska ruling affects a separate lease than the ones named by the Interior Department spokesperson. Per The Hill:

The Alaska lease would have covered more than 1 million acres. The federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management previously canceled lease sales in the area in 2006, 2008 and 2010, also citing lack of interest from industry at the time.

Under federal law, the Interior Department is required to adhere to a five-year offshore leasing plan, which was set to end at the end of June in the case of the affected leases.

Energy prices have skyrocketed in conjunction with record inflation during the Biden presidency. According to the Washington Post, the average price for a gallon of gas rose to a record high of $4.37 on Tuesday – the highest price recorded since AAA began keeping track of the climb in 2000.

“This is not the most expensive gas on record, when adjusted for inflation, but the increase comes despite Biden’s ordering the use of a million barrels per day from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve a little over a month ago,” noted the Post.

The president vowed on Tuesday to make rising costs and inflation his administration’s top priority.

“Republicans have offered plenty of blame, but not a single solution to actually bring down the energy prices,” the president said.

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