Biden proposes to block offshore drilling in Atlantic, Pacific oceans, allow some in Gulf of Mexico thumbnail

Biden proposes to block offshore drilling in Atlantic, Pacific oceans, allow some in Gulf of Mexico

The Biden administration has proposed blocking all new drilling in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, but allowing some drilling in the Gulf of Mexico in a five-year development plan.

The plan released on Friday proposed no more than 10 potential lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico, an option for one potential lease sale in the northern portion of the Cook Inlet of Alaska, and no lease sales for the Atlantic or Pacific planning areas over the 2023-2028 period.

It is not a final determination of what sales will be included, but any area or sale not included in the proposal will be off-limits during the five-year period, the Department of Interior’s Board of Ocean Energy Management noted.

The proposal will be published in the federal register later this month when it will be open for a 90-day public comment period.

The board will also host four virtual meetings in August for public input, including on Aug. 23, Aug. 25, Aug. 29, and Aug. 31, with exact times and registration to be provided at a later date.

During a legislative session earlier this year, Democrats had urged President Joe Biden to do more to stop offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.

The plea followed his administration breaking his campaign promise to ban new oil and natural gas leases on public lands and waters in November by approving new oil drilling leases on 1.7 million acres of federal land in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Democrats had argued that the approval of the lease in November ran counter to his administration’s goal to reach a net-zero emissions economy no later than 2050 and a 50% to 52% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 in an effort to control global warming.

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