The Consumer Energy Alliance (CEA) supported the resumption of onshore and offshore federal lease sales, but said the move comes too late. In a statement released Aug. 24, the CEA, a leading energy and environmental advocacy group, called into question the motives of President Joe Biden’s administration for delaying lease sales, calling the decision harmful to U.S. energy development and the economy.
“While we are glad that the Biden administration has announced a resumption of offshore lease sales as it is legally obligated to do, the delay has been far too long and there are too many questions unanswered by today’s announcement. It also creates unnecessary confusion, inconsistency and uncertainty for America’s energy producers,” CEA federal affairs adviser Michael Zehr said. “Delaying lease sales and limiting domestic energy development could also harm American families and small businesses by saddling them with higher energy prices.”
Zehr denounced the Biden administration for asking OPEC to produce more oil.
“Even as the administration asks less environmentally responsible producers from OPEC to increase supplies to meet global demand, we are intentionally hamstringing our own highly regulated and efficient domestic production,” he said. “This is bad for energy consumers, the environment and our economy.”
Domestic oil and gas production in the United States, Zehr argued, is better for the environment.
“It defies logic as to why we’d further delay oil and gas production here, where it is cleaner and it is carried out under the most stringent environmental regulations in the world, while we ask other nations to pick up the slack without the same environmental protections,” Zehr said. “This cedes our global advantage as the top oil and gas producer to less friendly nations, and it ignores U.S. leadership in reducing emissions more than any other nation year after year for two decades.”
Hampering U.S. energy production, Zehr added, could cause a return to the difficult times seen in the 1970s, during the oil embargo.
“We are already facing high gasoline prices and the prospect of even higher prices as inflation kicks in. We should not, under any circumstances, go back to the dark days of the 1970s where Americans had to wait in line for gasoline because of OPEC,” Zehr said. “We have the resources and we can development them responsibly.”
Zehr called for an energy policy that is more beneficial to U.S. citizens.
“Americans deserve a realistic and competent energy policy that promotes our national security and provides consistency, reliability, affordability and environmental stewardship,” Zehr concluded. “Ensuring our federal leasing program is consistent and competitive will do that. We must question any energy policies that put American families and small businesses at an intentional disadvantage, and those which lead to more rather than fewer emissions.”