Cassidy Calls Out Biden Administrations for Playing Fast and Loose with Offshore Energy Leasing Law – American Press

Cassidy calls out Biden Administrations for playing fast and loose with offshore energy leasing law

Published at 3:18 PM on Thursday, May 2, 2024

U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, MD (R-LA) today held the Biden administration’s feet to the fire for failing to adequately demonstrate that they will comply with the law and ban the sale of oil and gas leases in the Gulf of Mexico during a meeting of the US Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

While Secretary of the Interior (DOI) Deb Haaland half-heartedly confirmed that the administration plans to conduct three offshore lease sales over the next five years, Cassidy pointed out that this seems highly unlikely.

“2024 is the first year without a lease sale since 1965. I fear Lease Sale 262 will move to the end of 2025,” said Cassidy. “DOI must complete several reviews and planning steps before the lease is issued… we are now almost halfway through 2024 and I am told the necessary steps leading up to that lease sale have barely begun.”

When asked how long it would take to complete the necessary reviews, DOI Acting Assistant Secretary Laura Daniel-Davis admitted it would take at least 18 months.

“Again, I’m told it’s barely started. Eighteen months brings us almost to 2026 and in any case you said that it often goes (longer). So it looks like we’re missing out on a lease sale in 2024 and a lease sale in 2025,” Cassidy said.

Cassidy highlighted the problematic implications of these deliberate offshore energy delays for the government’s preferred energy sources – and political constituencies.

“I have also found that this administration has played fast and loose with the law. They decide what they want to do, and they do it and they say, sue me,” Cassidy added.


Last summer, Cassidy, along with Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), introduced the Offshore Energy Security Act of 2023, which would require the DOI to conduct two offshore oil and gas lease sales in 2024 and 2025. Similarly, he introduced the Supporting Made in America Energy Act with Senator Steve Daines (R-MT), which would require DOI to hold four onshore oil and gas lease sales in major oil and gas producing states, and two offshore oil and gas lease sales require in every available area in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska.

Cassidy denounced the Biden administration’s proposed Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) oil and gas leasing program for the period 2024-2029, which proposed organizing just three oil sales – the smallest offshore energy program in US history.

The latest lease sale, Lease Sale 261, received a total of 352 bids, one short of the record high for the last Five Year Plan. The sale sent a strong signal that the industry is optimistic about the future of energy production in the Gulf, despite years of dithering by the Biden administration. It should be a motivation to make more sales, not less.

In Louisiana, revenues from offshore energy production are used for conservation, restoration and environmental projects to preserve and restore the eroding coastline. Louisiana received a total of $156,329,442.65 in Department of the Interior revenues from energy produced in the Gulf of Mexico in fiscal year 2023.