House Committee on Natural Resources Ranking Member Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) led a letter to Department of the Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, requesting answers on why the administration is continuing its politically motivated delays of oil and gas lease sales, even at the detriment of state and local economies. In part, the members wrote:
“DOI’s recently released oil and gas leasing report doubles down on this anti-energy agenda, recommending several reforms to the leasing program that will drive up the cost of production on federal lands and waters under the guise of generating greater return to the taxpayer. While the report argues that recommendations to increase fees and royalty rates are consistent with fee and royalty requirements on state lands, it ignores the uncertainty, costs and regulatory challenges associated with production on federal lands and waters. If implemented, these recommendations will crush small businesses and only further discourage development on federal lands and waters, reducing overall domestic development and increasing our import reliance on nations with lower environmental standards.
“This is the worst time to put politically motivated constraints on domestic energy development. Gas prices have more than tripled since March 2020, and rising inflation is straining household budgets across the country. This administration has engaged in a relentless attack on our energy producers since day one, reducing domestic supply and discouraging further investment in U.S. production. While U.S. producers are ready and willing to provide affordable energy to our communities, President Biden’s preferred solution is to increase our dependence on OPEC+, which has ignored his multiple pleas to increase supply. Meanwhile, Americans are forced to grapple with this administration’s disastrous handling of our economic recovery and a resulting supply chain crisis. The combination of labor shortages and restrictive energy policies are driving up prices for energy, goods, and services, forcing Americans to make tough choices during the cold winter months.”
Read the full letter here.