The Department of the Interior (DOI) announced a plan to issue, at most, three licenses for oil and gas in the Gulf of Mexico region over a five-year period beginning in 2024. "[It] represents the smallest number of oil and gas lease sales in history," said DOI Secretary Deb Haaland in a statement. Data from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, reported by the Washington Post, seem to prove her right: since 1992, no five-year plan has included fewer than 11 licenses. The majority gave out between 15 and 20.
The decrease in oil and gas permits will be accompanied by an increase in those issued for offshore wind energy. In the announcement of the measure, the DOI explained that the proposal would "will bring the Federal offshore oil and gas program in line with the Biden-Harris administration’s goal of net-zero emissions by 2050."
In comparison, the Trump administration’s plan, which only reached preliminary stages, was to include some 47 licenses in all coastal areas around the country. The DOI was eager to highlight this difference in its press release.
"At a time when inflation runs rampant across the country, the Biden administration is choosing failed energy policies that are adding to the pain Americans are feeling at the pump," said American Petroleum Institute (API) President Mike Sommers in a statement.
This restrictive offshore leasing program is the latest tactic in a coordinated strategy to reduce energy production, ultimately weakening America’s energy dominance, limiting consumers access to affordable reliable energy and compromising our ability to lead on the global stage. For decades, we’ve strived for energy security and this administration keeps trying to give it away.