Op-ed: America Is in Uncharted Waters Without Final Offshore Leasing Program

NOIA President Erik Milito discusses the need for policies that enable the development of domestic oil and gas supplies, promote the energy transition and strengthen national security, including a timely leasing program.

(Source: Shutterstock.com)

Editor’s note: Opinions expressed by the author are their own.

Heading into the Independence Day weekend, our nation passed two energy markers. First, June 30 marked the day upon which the 2017-2022 offshore oil and gas leasing program expired, putting an abrupt halt on U.S. offshore lease sales. Second, a day later, the Biden administration released the proposed program for the next program for offshore oil and gas leasing, projected to cover the 2023-2028 timeline and creating a striking gap in offshore lease sales. American energy policy is now in uncharted waters without a leasing program, and Americans will be worse off without the timely resumption of region-wide lease sales.

The proposed program is only the second of three lengthy steps required in the development of a new offshore oil and gas leasing program; Gulf of Mexico lease sales cannot resume without a final program absent legislative action from Congress. This is the first time that an administration has failed to publish a final—not merely a proposed—offshore leasing program before the expiration of the previous program.

Prior to this point, every administration—Republican and Democrat—has fulfilled its legal obligation to maintain a leasing program and hold lease sales. Every administration has recognized the critical strategic advantages of an uninterrupted U.S. oil and gas leasing program.

Already have an account? Log In

Sign up for FREE access to view this article now!

Unlock Free Access