“We’ve been very clear in our conversations with Interior that we expect the president to uphold his campaign commitment to ending new leasing,” said Diane Hoskins, a campaign director at Oceana, an environmental advocacy organization.
The Biden Administration’s Environmental Agenda
President Biden is pushing stronger regulations, but faces a narrow path to achieving his goals in the fight against global warming.
The International Energy Agency has said nations must stop approving new coal mines, or oil and gas fields in order to hold global warming to an average of 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared with preindustrial levels. That’s the threshold beyond which the likelihood significantly increases of catastrophic heat waves, drought, flooding and widespread extinctions. Earth has already heated an average of 1.1 degrees Celsius since the Industrial Revolution.
If Mr. Biden issues new drilling leases, he risks alienating climate-minded voters who Democrats need to turn out for the midterm elections this fall, said Tré Easton, a Democratic strategist.
“Joe Biden breaking a major campaign promise and extending new leases will have no bearing on energy prices in this country,” he said. “It’s a distraction and I really hope the White House recognizes it as such.”
Areas made available for leasing under the blueprint would be auctioned through 2027. It can take years between a lease sale and the production of gas or oil from offshore drilling.
Still, the fossil fuel industry and Republicans are blaming record high gas prices on the Biden administration, accusing it of slowing fossil fuel production.