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DOI Heeds Republican Messages, Announces Draft Five-Year Offshore Leasing Plan

Today, U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) Secretary Deb Haaland announced DOI will be releasing a draft five-year plan for oil and gas leasing on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) before the current plan expires on June 30, 2022. House Committee on Natural Resources Ranking Member Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) issued the following statement in response:

“Republicans have continued sounding the alarm on the need to harness America’s offshore energy resources, and so far we’ve gotten nothing but obstruction and delays from the Biden administration. Just two weeks ago amid surging gas price, DOI inexplicably cancelled the remaining three lease sales in the current five-year plan. I hope this means DOI and the administration are waking up to the reality that American energy must be part of the equation if we are to have any hope of easing the price at the pump, not to mention establishing our long-term energy and national security. It’s up to DOI to follow through with this announcement and restart the leasing process. The current limbo is what drives industries to other nations with poor environmental records, when we can produce energy safer, cleaner and cheaper here in America. There isn’t any time to lose. DOI should release a robust plan and put it in place immediately, as I have urged them to do for months.”

Background

DOI is required by law to issue a five-year plan for scheduling oil and gas lease sales on the OCS, and the current plan sunsets June 30, 2022. A multi-step process must be completed before a new five-year offshore leasing plan is finalized. DOI must publish a Draft Proposed Program, a Proposed Program and a Final Proposed Program before finalizing a new five-year plan. A Draft Proposed Program was published in January of 2018, and DOI’s announcement today indicates a Proposed Program will be published before June 30, 2022. Without a Final Proposed Program in place, however, DOI is unable to offer new OCS lease sales.

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