The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) Friday released its proposed five-year plan for domestic offshore oil and gas leasing. House Committee on Natural Resources Ranking Member Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) issued the following statement in response:
“Now I see why DOI blew past their promised release date – they wanted to wait until 5 p.m. on a holiday weekend in the hopes that no one would notice. Well, Americans noticed. How couldn’t we, when we’re paying more and more each time we fill up our cars with gas? DOI’s statement that the final plan may contain zero lease sales is deeply concerning and would be unprecedented. This administration continues demolishing access to American resources, and we are paying the price at the pump, at the grocery store, and in our family budgets. There is absolutely no reasonable explanation why we cannot tap into our resources here at home and at least have a plan heading in the right direction to ease soaring energy costs. This administration adds a new dimension to incompetence and worse than that, they are unwilling to listen to anyone who can help them do the right thing. I guess that’s the burden they’re willing to place on the backs of hardworking Americans as they strive for their liberal world order that includes China and Saudi Arabia being the critical links in our supply chain.”
The Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act requires DOI to finalize a five-year plan for offshore leasing before conducting offshore lease sales. The law directs DOI to develop a plan that will “best meet national energy needs for the five year period following its approval.”
The proposed five-year plan released today contains a potential 10 lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico and one sale in the Cook Inlet of Alaska. However, DOI’s statement that the leasing plan, when finalized, may contain zero lease sales is ominous considering the worsening energy crisis, and would be unprecedented. The previous five-year plan expired June 30, 2022, meaning there is currently no offshore leasing plan in place and sales cannot occur until the proposed plan is finalized.