Here are some of the latest actions on Biden’s oil restrictions
Louisiana is already feeling the financial impact of President Joe Biden’s indefinite ban on new oil and gas leases on federal lands and waters, according to officials in the region.
U.S. Representative Steve Scalise, R-Metairie, said the administration cancellation of the sale of the oil lease last Wednesday in the Gulf of Mexico have cost federal and state governments millions of dollars.
“Last year over $ 200 million was generated from these Gulf lease sales,” he said. “In 2019, over $ 400 million from these rental sales alone.”
Scalise noted that the state’s 50 billion, 50-year plan to protect coastal communities from coastal flooding and hurricanes, which scientists say are made worse by climate change, is funded largely by offshore oil revenues.
“So what would have happened today in the Superdome would have generated, on average, $ 200 (million) to $ 400 million that day, some of which would have gone to Louisiana and those local parishes to make coastal restoration projects, to fund flood protection projects, “he said.” We’re not getting this money because of this policy change from President Biden. “
Scalise was among several officials who spoke out against oil restrictions at an online press conference on Wednesday. Others included the president of the parish of Lafourche, Archie Chaisson; Lori LeBlanc, executive director of the Gulf Economic Survival Team; Dwayne Bourgeois, District Director General of North Lafourche Levee; and Chett Chiasson, executive director of Port Fourchon, the Gulf oilfield services hub.
Biden enacted a 60-day ban Jan. 21 on new oil and gas drilling permits and leases for federal lands and waters, including the Gulf of Mexico. It followed Jan. 27 with an indefinite ban on new leases in the Gulf and on federal lands.
Officials say the break is needed as the administration strives to control climate change and the resulting pollution, rising seas and other harmful effects on the nation and the world.
Here are some of the latest developments in the ongoing debate.
Industry group sues to overturn Biden restrictions
The Western energy alliance, who represents more than 200 oil companies in several western states, filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration in the U.S. District Court in Wyoming.
The group claims Biden’s orders exceed his presidential authority and violate laws in which Congress approved oil and gas production on federal lands and waters.
“The law is clear. Presidents do not have the power to prohibit the leasing of public land. All Americans own oil and natural gas under public lands, and Congress has ordered them to be responsibly developed on their behalf, ”said Kathleen Sgamma, president of the Alliance, in a press release. “Biden’s ban is an overrun intended to satisfy the environmental, but it would seriously damage the livelihoods of tens of thousands of Westerners and endanger millions more as state services are no longer funded. “
A bill in Congress would do the same
Scalise is co-sponsoring a bill introduced by Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Houston, which seeks to overturn Biden’s oil restrictions. Louisiana senators, Republicans John Kennedy and Bill Cassidy sponsor identical Senate bill.
The Conservation Funding Protection Act would require at least two region-wide lease sales per year on available land in the western and central Gulf.
But Scalise’s passage of the measure would be an uphill battle in Democrat-controlled Congress.
Environmentalists say oil industry worries are overblown
Conservation groups as well as the Biden administration note that companies accumulated years of oil and gas leases before Biden was elected president to guard against his campaign pledge to permanently ban drilling on federal lands and waters.
Aaron Rice, deputy director of the Center for Western Priorities, an environmental group that focuses on shale fields in the western United States, shared the sentiment in a March 4 blog post titled “The oil industry is doing well with a break from leasing oil – just ask their CEOs.”
In it, Rice cites quotes from several oil company CEOs who say Biden’s actions are expected to have little impact on drilling over the next several years.
“So if the oil companies aren’t really threatened by the temporary leasing pause, why do they want the American people to think a pause is so bad,” Rice asks. “It’s probably because they know their sauce train has broken down.”
Coupled with lower demand, the actions give the Biden administration time to assess the entire rental program for potentially the biggest overhaul in nearly a century, Rice said. And it could give Congress a chance to raise oil companies’ per barrel payments to the federal government closer to market rates, force companies to pay enough bonds to cover the cost of cleanup when drillers go bankrupt, and build confidence. to car manufacturers to announce a transition away from internal combustion engines like GM did last month.
“This inevitable change is the biggest drag on the industry,” Rice wrote. “It is undeniable that the world is facing a climate crisis and that the only way out is to drastically reduce carbon emissions. Taking the time to fully consider the damage caused by oil and gas drilling on public lands is a vital net zero first step. During this transition, America will need to help oil-dependent communities and workers find their place in the rapidly growing renewable energy industry. But in the short term, the crocodile tears of the oil industry on public lands should not fool anyone.
Local communities prepare to have an impact
One of those oil-dependent communities is Houma-Thibodaux, something Lafourche Parish President Archie Chaisson stressed at Wednesday’s press conference. He and other members of the Oil Patch have decried the Biden administration’s promise to help oil workers transition to cleaner energy jobs as overly simplistic.
He cited state data showing that nearly 14,000 people work in the oilfield and shipbuilding industries in Terrebonne and Lafourche. Chaisson estimated that the industry pays taxes that amount to about 15% of the Lafourche government’s budget, or about $ 15 million per year.
“But it’s the second part of the numbers that scares me the most, and it’s the economic fallout, essential hardware or gas stations and all the local businesses that are going to lose business if these new lease sales don’t happen. not, “he said.
Port manager Chett Chiasson said the industry is keen to work with Biden to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and tackle climate change.
“We understand that there is and always will be a transition to renewable energy to meet our country’s energy needs,” Chiasson said. “But such a transition must be smart, calculated, reasonable and realistic.”