Wednesday, November 17, 2021

US Auctions Oil And Gas Drilling Leases in Gulf Of Mexico After Court Loss

Once in Office, President Biden quickly moved to realize, at least part of his Vision, calling a Temporary Halt to the Issuance of Oil and Gas Drilling Permits, across America’s vast Publicly Owned Lands and Ocean Territory, pending a Review into how they are Conducted.

The Oil and Gas Industries, immediately Objected to Biden’s move, Claiming it imperiled Jobs and Risked Pushing-Up Energy Prices, and a Dozen States Sued to Lift the Moratorium. In June, a Federal Judge in Louisiana, agreed with the States and found that the Government hadn’t taken the Required Steps to Pause New Leases.

This Courtroom Setback has forced the Gulf of Mexico Sale, according to the Biden Administration. A Spokeswoman for the Department of the Interior, said it is “complying” with the Court Ruling, while also Appealing it and Devising a Better System to Measure the Emissions Impact of Oil and Gas Lease Sales.

The US Federal Government, on Wednesday, launched an Auction of more than 80m Acres of the Gulf for Fossil Fuel Extraction, a Record Sell-Off that will Lock in Years, and potentially Decades, of Planet-Heating Emissions.

There is No Guarantee that All the Leases will be taken up by Oil and Gas Companies, but the Department of the Interior, which Oversees Public Lands and Waters, has estimated there is as much as 1.12bn Barrels of Oil and 4.2tn Cubic ft of Gas available for Extraction. A Separate Lease Sale offered by the Government in Alaska’s Cook Inlet, will offer up another 192m Barrels of Oil and 301bn Cubic ft of Gas to Drillers. Combined, these Leases would Result in nearly 600m tons of Planet-Heating Gases, if Fully Developed over the Next Four Decades, which is more than the Total Annual Emissions of the UK.

Experts have said that the Development of New Oil and Gas Fields must Stop this year, if the World is to Avoid more Disastrous Heatwaves, Floods, and other Climate Impacts, with Fossil Fuel Production on America’s Public Lands causing around a Quarter of the Country’s Overall Greenhouse Gas Pollution.

But Legal Experts say, the Court Decision doesn’t, in itself, Prevent the Administration from Stopping or Delaying a Scheduled Lease Sale, or from Scaling it back.

“The Louisiana opinion doesn’t force the administration to move forward with any particular lease sale – the Department of Interior still has discretion over that,” said Max Sarinsky, a Senior Attorney at the New York University School of Law. “If they were to postpone, I’m almost certain they would be sued by oil and gas interests, but that’s another matter.”

To many Living on the Gulf’s Coast, the huge Expansion in Oil Drilling, reaching down through, upto Two Miles of Ocean into the Seabed, raises Concerns over a Repeat of the Numerous Oil Spills that have caused varying Degrees of Devastation to Coastal Communities and Wildlife.

“That’s a fear we live with,” said Anne Rolfes, Director of the Louisiana Bucket Brigade, an Environmental Group based in New Orleans. “There are spills every year and nothing is done to stop it – all the technology goes into how to drill further out, not to clean up spills or pipeline repair. The industry is like a cancer, it’s just relentless growth. It’s disappointing Biden won’t take a firmer stance.”

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker

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