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President Joe Biden’s administration has stopped a high-profile lease opportunity for gas and oil that is being presented to the Interior Department. The choice that pauses the possibility to drill for oil on more than one million acres of land in the Alaskan Cook Inlet was brought up during a difficult political time and gas is costly.
The Interior department stated that because there are not many industries interested in renting in that area, the choice to not continue with the sale was made. They also stopped two rentals that were being considered for the Gulf of Mexico region due to court rulings that are conflicting and have affected work on the pending sales.
The department has to keep to a leasing plan of five years for leases that are auctioned offshore in accordance with federal law. The Biden administration was given until the end of the current plan, which was meant to expire at the end of June, to finish selling the leases.
The White House has remained quiet in regards to the big Alaska lease until now. However, stopping the sale would keep the promises politically set by President Joe Biden to end global warming. Those promises turned into a challenge politically due to the gas prices.
An environmental advocate said that they do not want to get confronted by republicans involving the high gas prices. “They’re getting killed on attacks based on inflation. The most visible sign of inflation is high gas prices,” the advocate explained.
The sensitive political problem was clear after an environmental official displayed what she had in an email that was also sent to a CBS News reporter. The White House National Climate Advisor, Gina McCarthy, announced that the Inlet sale was not proceeding, it was canceled.
The Time Runs Low
Another White House representative started saying that McCarthy went ahead of herself. A final decision has not yet been made, according to an official from the Interior Department. However, as the time runs low, the department announcement was made on Wednesday.
An American Petroleum Institute top official, Frank Macchairola, called the ending of the lease a different example of the lack of commitment to gas and oil production in the U.S. from the administration. The institute is the largest gas and oil trade company in the country.
Macchairola explained that President Biden has spoken in regards to the demand for more supplies in the market, however, his administration has not taken action to match the expression. He also noted that it would not play out well politically.
He also stated that in the environment that is seen now, there are practical and political negative consequences of stopping gas and oil growth.
The average price for regular gas hit the highest point of $4.40 on Wednesday, according to AAA.
Written by Jeanette Vietti
CBS News: Biden administration cancels Alaska oil and gas lease sale; by Sara Cook, Weijia Jiang, and Matthew Mosk