The huge sale, which came just four days after crucial UN climate talks in Scotland, represented a dramatic turnaround from Joe Biden’s previous pledge to stop offshore drilling and was denounced by indignant environmental groups as a “huge carbon bomb”.
The president’s administration insisted it was forced to suspend the sale of the lease due to a court ruling in favor of a dozen states that have filed a lawsuit to lift a general hiatus imposed on new drilling permits by Biden.
But a memo filed by the US Department of Justice before the lease was sold acknowledges that the ruling does not require the government to auction off the rights to drill in the Gulf.
“Although the ordinance directs and prevents (the department of) the interior from implementing the break, it does not oblige the interior to take the measures specified by the complainants, let alone within the emergency period. specified in the plaintiffs’ contempt motion, “government attorneys wrote in Louisiana federal court in August.
The issuance of new drilling permits would require additional measures under federal laws, the note said, adding that “the court order does not oblige the agency to act in violation of these other authorities.”
The language of the memo was first reference by the daily poster.
Just a month after arguing that it was under no obligation to complete the sale, the Department of the Interior’s Office of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) announcement he would auction off an area of ââthe gulf twice the size of Florida to oil and gas companies.
The expanse of the gulf up for auction contains an estimated 1.12 billion barrels of oil and 4.2 billion cubic feet of gas, with leases locking in years – and potentially decades – of global heating emissions. It comes at a time when the International Energy Agency has declared that no new fossil fuel projects can be put in place after this year if the world is to avoid catastrophic heat waves, floods and other dire impacts. of uncontrollable climate change.
âThe administration has been misleading about it, to say the least. It’s very disappointing, âsaid Thomas Meyer, the organization’s national director of Food and Water Watch. âThey didn’t have to organize this sale and they didn’t have to hold it within that time frame.