The U.S. held its first auction of oil and gas drilling leases in the Gulf of Mexico in more than a year on Wednesday. The sale — mandated by the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) — garnered $264 million in offers from oil companies, including BP, Chevron and ExxonMobil. The auction in federal waters came just two weeks following the Biden administration’s approval of the Willow oil drilling project on Alaska’s environmentally sensitive North Slope. Environmental groups — who have challenged the lease sale in federal court — were not pleased with President Joe Biden going back on a campaign promise to stop the extraction of fossil fuels on federal lands.
More than 300 environmental and Indigenous rights groups said Wednesday that the Biden administration must take a number of concrete actions to protect the nation's public lands and waters from fossil fuel industry exploitation and bring U.S. policy into line with climate science—and the president's own campaign pledges. In a letter to U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, the climate coalition noted that President Joe Biden "made a bold promise to ban new oil and gas leasing on public lands and waters, and within days of taking office issued his Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad."
A federal judge invalidated the results of an oil and gas lease sale in the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday saying the Biden administration failed to properly account for the auction's climate change impact. The decision has cast uncertainty over the future of the U.S. federal offshore drilling program, which has been a big source of public revenue for decades but also drawn the ire of activists concerned about its impact on the environment and contribution to global warming. The Gulf of Mexico accounts for 15% of existing U.S. oil production and 5% of dry natural gas output, according to the Energy Information Administration. In the decision, Judge Rudolph Contreras of the United States District Court of the District of Columbia ruled to vacate the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management's Lease Sale 257, which offered about 80 million offshore acres (37.4 million hectares) in the Gulf of Mexico in an auction last November.
Washington - More than 360 climate, tribal, religious and conservation groups petitioned the Biden administration today to use its executive authority to phase out oil and gas production on public lands and oceans. The petition provides a framework to manage a decline of oil and gas production to near zero by 2035 through rulemaking, using long-dormant provisions of the Mineral Leasing Act, Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act and the National Emergencies Act. Without such action, it will become increasingly difficult for the United States to meet its pledge to help avoid 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming and its unprecedented social, environmental and economic damage.
Climate campaigners and other progressive critics on Friday called out the Biden administration for a new U.S. Interior Department report about leasing public lands and waters to oil and gas companies, slamming its proposals as far too weak given the need to keep fossil fuels in the ground. The report—prepared in response to President Joe Biden's Executive Order 14008—recommends adjusting royalty and bonding rates, prioritizing leasing in areas with known resource potential, and avoiding regions where drilling conflicts with conservation, historical and cultural resources, recreation, and wildlife habitat. "Releasing this completely inadequate report over a long holiday weekend is a shameful attempt to hide the fact that President Biden has no intention of fulfilling his promise to stop oil and gas drilling on our public lands," said Food & Water Watch policy director Mitch Jones in a statement.
Billings, Montana — Approvals for companies to drill for oil and gas on U.S. public lands are on pace this year to reach their highest level since George W. Bush was president, underscoring President Joe Biden’s reluctance to more forcefully curb petroleum production in the face of industry and Republican resistance. The Interior Department approved about 2,500 permits to drill on public and tribal lands in the first six months of the year, according to an Associated Press analysis of government data. That includes more than 2,100 drilling approvals since Biden took office January 20. New Mexico and Wyoming had the largest number of approvals. Montana, Colorado and Utah had hundreds each. Biden campaigned last year on pledges to end new drilling on federal lands to rein in climate-changing emissions.
In towns and cities across northern Appalachia industrial and manufacturing jobs have emptied out and men and women hungry for work have been drawn by the beckoning call of the oil and gas industry. Over the past decade that industry has tapped vigorously into the Marcellus and Utica, two massively rich gas layers that underlie the region. But these workers don’t always end up drilling for oil and pulling pipe, wellhead jobs stamped with a certain gritty glamour upon the American imagination. They often end up at a far seedier and even less regulated end of the oilfield, working in the largely unknown underworld of radioactive oilfield waste. Scooping it up and hauling it hither and thither in trucks.
Last month, Indigenous and environmental activists won a crucial court victory against the Bureau of Land Management after tirelessly waging a years-long fight for the preservation of Chaco Canyon in New Mexico.The struggle is still not over. Chaco Canyon and its surrounding area, the Greater Chaco Landscape, are of great importance for their archeological and natural features...
Steve Schlotterbeck, who led drilling company EQT as it expanded to become the nation’s largest producer of natural gas in 2017, arrived at a petrochemical industry conference in Pittsburgh Friday morning with a blunt message about shale gas drilling and fracking. “The shale gas revolution has frankly been an unmitigated disaster for any buy-and-hold investor in the shale gas industry with very few limited exceptions,” Schlotterbeck, who left the helm of EQT last year, continued. “In fact, I'm not aware of another case of a disruptive technological change that has done so much harm to the industry that created the change.”
State Land Commissioner Stephanie Garcia Richard has put a halt to new oil and gas leasing on some 73,000 acres of state trust land near the Chaco Culture National Historic Park in Northwest New Mexico, saying the move will help protect archaeological and cultural resources of the state’s pueblos and tribes. “We are focusing on this particular area because it is so significant to all Native populations in New Mexico and has such a cultural and historical value to them,” Garcia Richard said by phone Tuesday.
(Ball Bluff, MN) On March 22nd, members of the Ginew Collective supported by Northfield Against Line 3 exposed an Enbridge drilling worksite on the eastern shore of the Mississippi River on the proposed Line 3 route. Construction workers in Enbridge vests were engaged in what appeared to be core sampling for a Horizontal Directional Drill (HDD) to bore Line 3 under the Mississippi River. No work permits were posted or produced upon repeated inquiry of onsite workers.
A federal judge in Alaska ruled on Friday that President Donald Trump "exceeded the president's authority" when he signed an executive order to allow offshore oil drilling in around 125 million acres of the Arctic Ocean, CNN reported. U.S. District Court Judge Sharon Gleason's decision restores a ban on drilling in 98 percent of the U.S.-controlled Arctic Ocean, according to Earthjustice, which sued to stop Trump's order on behalf of several environmental groups and Alaska Native communities.
Rosa Elvira Chuji Gualingai, 50, came to the city to pressure the government. Watching the traffic outside her office window, she says, “I can’t get used to this lifestyle.” The indigenous activist, leader of the Shiwiar community of Kurintsa, was raised deep in the Amazon rainforest, surrounded by towering ceibo and palm trees. With no roads, the only way to travel is up to six days by boat or to charter a plane. With little electricity and no plumbing, the Shiwiar bathe in the nearby rivers and live mainly by hunting and fishing.
In the first significant check on the Trump administration’s “energy-first” agenda, a US judge has temporarily halted hundreds of drilling projects for failing to take climate change into account. Drilling had been stalled on more than 300,000 acres of public land in Wyoming after it was ruled the Trump administration violated environmental laws by failing to consider greenhouse gas emissions. The federal judge has ordered the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which manages US public lands and issues leases to the energy industry, to redo its analysis.
The great American fracking boom threatens to undermine efforts to avoid climate catastrophe in this century. Amid mounting calls to phase out fossil fuels in the face of rapidly worsening climate change, the United States is ramping up oil and gas drilling faster than any other country, threatening to add 1,000 coal plants’ worth of planet-warming gases by the middle of the century, according to a report released Wednesday. By 2030, the U.S. is on track to produce 60 percent of the world’s new oil and gas supply, an expansion at least four times larger than in any other country. By 2050, the country’s newly tapped reserves are projected to spew 120 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere.