November 15, 2023

Court Forces Biden Administration’s Hand on Oil Leases

The Biden administration has been breaking the law regarding the holding of oil leases.

There are required sales to take place, but Biden balked at the idea as well as trying to tie eco restrictions to the sales.

A federal court just ordered the administration to pump the brakes on the restrictions and move forward with the lease sales.

Blow to Biden

There was to be a massive oil and gas lease held for the Gulf of Mexico, but the Biden administration has been putting it off because the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) decided to put last-minute environmental restrictions on the sales.

The administration was sued over the restrictions, and the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the administration must move forward with the sales, sans any eco restrictions placed by the BOEM.

American Petroleum Institute (API) Senior Vice President and General Counsel Ryan Meyers celebrated the ruling.

Meyers stated, "Energy independence scored an important win tonight with the Fifth Circuit decision lifting unjustified restrictions on oil and natural gas vessels and restoring acreage for offshore energy development.

"The U.S. Gulf of Mexico plays a critical role in maintaining affordable, reliable American energy production, and today’s decision creates greater certainty for the essential energy workforce and the entire Gulf Coast economy.”

Biden is now 0-2 on this front, and while I fully expect him to take this to the Supreme Court, I really don’t see how the court can rule against what two lower courts have already decided.

The latest ruling stated, "At least one whale would need to traverse the area in which oil-and-gas activities are occurring under Lease Sale 261 and be killed by such activities.

“But in four separate environmental reviews over the last seven years, BOEM concluded that additional protections for the Rice’s whales are unnecessary outside of their ‘core’ habitat in the eastern Gulf — an area unrelated to Lease Sale 261 that has long been protected from oil-and-gas leasing.

"At least one member of an Intervenor organization would need to go sightseeing in the Rice’s whale’s habitat with intent to see the Rice’s whale after its population is diminished — events the dates of which remain unknown.”

Barring any further legal maneuvers, the sale must be held within 37 days of the appellate court ruling.

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