The Biden administration has authorized new oil and gas leases
Inflation in America is the worst it's been in over 40 years, with much of the inflationary pressure coming from soaring fuel prices. On Friday, though, the Biden administration announced with pride that it has refused all but 20% of the requests for oil and gas leases on federal land as well as raising royalty prices for drilling companies. The Biden administration's goal isn't to make life better for ordinary Americans. Its goal, instead, is to serve special interest groups and to chase down and catch the climate change unicorn.
As all of us recall, one of Biden's first acts upon entering the Oval Office was to "pause new oil and natural gas leases on public lands or in offshore waters pending completion of a comprehensive review." Thirteen states sued to stop this executive order. In June 2021, the Louisiana District court issued a nationwide injunction invalidating this moratorium on the grounds that the executive office lacked the power to take such a step.
Rather than lifting the executive order, the administration simply ignored the court's ruling. Instead, after almost a year, the U.S. Department of the Interior has put out a press release proudly announcing that it's complying with the order by "reforming" leases...to refuse most of them:
In compliance with an injunction from the Western District of Louisiana, the Department of the Interior is taking action that reflects the balanced approach to energy development and management of our nation's public lands called for in the agency's November 2021 report on the Federal Oil and Gas Leasing Program. Today the Department announced that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will post notices for significantly reformed onshore lease sales that prioritize the American people's interests in public lands and moves forward with addressing deficiencies in the federal oil and gas leasing program.
Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland set up a false binary to justify the new regime. The only interests involved, she says, are "extractive industries" versus "local communities, the natural environment, the impact on our air and water, the needs of Tribal Nations, and, moreover, other uses of our shared public lands." Missing from this equation are the American people, who are being destroyed by the weight of high fuel costs that impact every aspect of American life, including food supplies because of food producers' and distributors' reliance on fossil fuel.
Image: Deb Haaland, secretary of the Interior (cropped). Public domain.
As a result of the Department of Interior's new focus, which, of course, includes the "urgent need to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and accelerate its transition to a clean energy economy," royalty prices, which had remained stable for decades at 12.5%, are going up by 50%:
On Monday, the BLM will issue final environmental assessments and sale notices for upcoming oil and gas lease sales that reflect this strategic approach. The lease sales will incorporate many of the recommendations in the Department's report, including ensuring Tribal consultation and broad community input, reliance of the best available science including analysis of GHG emissions, and a first-ever increase in the royalty rate for new competitive leases to 18.75 percent, to ensure fair return for the American taxpayer and on par with rates charged by states and private landowners.
This increase reflects the same mentality that sees restaurants helpfully suggesting on their receipts that tips should begin at 20%, rather than the 15% that was the norm for decades. If restaurant tabs increase, the amount of tips increases automatically without the necessity of a corresponding increase in the percentage. In the same way, there is no reason, during an inflationary period that will inevitably lead to a recession (and then a depression?), to increase the royalty percentage.
But wait! There's more. Companies that seek to extract the abundant fossil fuels underlying American land will have many fewer opportunities to drill (and do remember that most drilling comes up dry):
The BLM assessed potentially available and eligible acreage in Alabama, Colorado, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Utah and Wyoming. It began analyzing 646 parcels on roughly 733,000 acres that had been previously nominated for leasing by energy companies. As a result of robust environmental review, engagement with Tribes and communities, and prioritizing the American people's broad interests in public lands, the final sale notices will offer approximately 173 parcels on roughly 144,000 acres, an 80 percent reduction from the acreage originally nominated. (Emphasis mine.)
The Department of the Interior has reminded you, once again, that the Democrat party wants you to freeze in the winter, bake in the summer, lose your job because you have no affordable transportation, and go hungry, all in the service of nonexistent anthropogenic climate change and a push to socialize the entire economy.
The Founders never intended the Executive Branch to have this kind of power over American lives. To change this, you must vote for politicians who will claw back the power the Constitution vested in Congress.