The Biden administration has approved a new oil and gas lease scheme for the Gulf of Mexico. The move undermines President Biden’s earlier intentions and commitments to take global action on climate change.
An auction of oil and gas leases was held last month by the Biden administration. It claimed that a court ruling overturning Biden’s ban on new drilling permits on public lands in the Gulf compelled it to host the sale. However, a letter from the Department of Justice contradicts this claim.
President Biden stated throughout his election campaign that he would shift away from oil in favor of renewable energy. He also stated that the oil industry pollutes significantly and must be gradually replaced with renewable energy.
Biden Auctioned Oil Drilling Right After Climate Summit
Now, the Biden administration has auctioned the drilling of millions of acres in the Gulf of Mexico. The auction took place in November, only four days after President Joe Biden announced a series of new climate pledges at the world’s largest climate conference.
At the time, the administration also stated that it would develop a better method to assess the carbon impact of oil and gas lease sales in order to reduce their climate impact.
The offshore lease covers 80 million acres of the seafloor, which could hold four trillion cubic feet of natural gas and over a billion barrels of oil. During its lifetime, the sale alone could contribute to the emissions of 723 million metric tons of carbon dioxide.
In the United States, that would be the equivalent of operating more than 70 percent of coal-fired power plants for an entire year, according to an analysis by The Center for American Progress.
There is also the timeline, which makes matters worse. Exxon and BP are among the businesses that have purchased rights to drill in the Gulf, and it will take years to build the infrastructure needed to extract the oil and gas. In other words, the mining and combustion of fossil fuels will not begin until about 2030, which many climate scientists regard as a hard deadline to reverse our ecological decline.
Biden Administration: Hiding Under a Court Order
Biden’s administration seemed to have purposely poked a finger in the eye of the environmental movement with this action, but the president and his people insisted that the courts forced them to do it.
Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said in November that the administration had to comply with the injunction. She stated that it is a legal case and legal procedure, but activists and those paying attention should know that this is in violation of our position, the president’s beliefs, and the executive order he signed.
The Dep artment of Justice, however, filed a memo before the auction in August, contradicting the administration’s public claims. The court’s judgment lifted Biden’s entire moratorium on new drilling licenses, but it did not compel the government to grant any new ones.
It was initially acknowledged by the Biden administration that a court order did not mandate leasing vast areas of the Gulf of Mexico for oil and gas drilling. Then, shortly before announcing the sale, it claimed it had a legal obligation to do so.
Experts, however, believe the administration of Biden has been deceptive, which contradicts his campaign promise. Climate change will be negatively affected by this move, according to environmentalists.
They expressed their dissatisfaction with the drilling issue and stated that the administration was not required to hold this sale and deadline.
According to a Public Citizen study, a consumer advocacy group indicates that the Biden government has issued more oil and gas drilling approvals on public lands per month than the Donald Trump administration did during its first three years.
The federal government is expected to hold substantial lease sales for oil and gas production off the southern coast of Alaska in the coming months.
Impacts of Biden’s Decision on the Environment
With each passing day, the urgency of addressing anthropogenic climate disruption increases. According to newly released data, Thwaite’s, a massive Antarctic ice shelf, may break up within five years. The collapse of Thwaite’s would cause sea levels in coastal areas to rise several feet, putting millions at risk.
Up to a billion sea creatures have died as a result of a particularly hot summer in the Pacific Northwest. Humans are also impacted, as are many other species.
In the middle of the night only a few days ago, a tornado ripped through nine states, including Kentucky, killing at least 90 people, causing unimaginable destruction.
This led to a debate on the relationship between global warming and the monster storm. Tornadoes are formed by a variety of factors that make it difficult to determine their cause. However, given the storm’s scale and timing and that tornado of any size in December is extremely rare, it’s tough to argue that climate had no influence.
Over the years, the Gulf of Mexico has been treated as a sacrificial zone by the federal government. Gulf Coast communities already experiencing rising temperatures, flooding, and pollution will face more destruction and disasters as a result of this decision.
Coastal communities, coastal economies, and marine life are at risk as a result of the development of oil and gas in the Gulf Coast region.
Since signing the Paris Agreement, the United States has spent about $11 billion in public subsidies on international oil, gas, and coal projects.
The funds were used on increasing fossils, extracting and burning more fossil fuels, and violating community rights.
In his campaign, President Biden stressed the necessity of saving the environment before it was too late and taking bold actions to limit its worst impacts.
In spite of this, his administration decided it would not revise an existing environmental analysis of this lease sale based on a United Nations report warning climate change is a cataclysmic problem.