As Gas Price Soar, White House Hides Decision to Cancel Alaska Drilling Plan

We have a record high gas price at the pump and a president who canceled one of the most high-profile oil and gas lease opportunities.

President Biden and his Interior Department made this decision to stop the potential to drill for oil on over 1 million acres in the Cook Inlet in Alaska. 

The Department of Interior made a statement to the press saying that there was a “lack of industry interest in leasing in the area.”

They chose not to move forward with the Cook Inlet lease, and they also chose to stop two leases that were under consideration for the Gulf of Mexico region. The reason for this decision was “conflicting court rulings that impacted work on these proposed lease sales.”

This isn’t the first time a lease was canceled in the Cook Inlet. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management within the Interior Department also canceled leases there in 2007, 2008, and 2011.

Because federal law requires the Department of the Interior to keep a five-year leasing plan when auctioning offshore leases, Biden’s administration only has until the end of next month to complete the sale of the lease. 

Even with all the news about gas prices, the White House has kept quiet about the huge lease opportunity in Alaska. The sale of the lease was likely canceled because of what Biden has promised regarding his commitments to global warming. 

One environment advocate spoke to the press but asked not to be named because of the deep concerns around this story. He explained that the White House did not want to “get hit” by the Republicans on this decision due to the high prices of gas.

The advocate said that the administration is “getting killed” over inflation and the most visible sign of inflation are the high gas prices. 

The cat got out of the bag when Gina McCarthy, a White House national climate adviser, wrote in an email that the Cook Inlet sale was canceled and not proceeding.

Another official tried to cover the trail when the press got hold of the email, but, eventually, the Interior Department had to announce its decision.

Frustrated voters

Frank Macchairola, a leading official with the American Petroleum Institute which is the top American oil and gas trade association, said that the decision on the Cook Inlet was “another example of the administration’s lack of commitment to oil and gas development in the US. The President has spoken about the need for additional supplies in the market, but his administration has failed to take action to match that rhetoric.”

So here we are, this week the national average price of regular gas reached an unprecedented high of $4.40 per gallon, according to AAA.

Most Americans who are struggling to pay their bills will be frustrated with this decision, while environmental groups will be pleased. 

The Alaska offshore lease would have made drilling possible on more than 1 million acres for 40 years. Meanwhile, Biden’s approval rating is lowest when the public is asked about how he handles the economy.

An astounding 69% of the American people disapprove of the president’s handling of inflation. A total of 65% of those polled believe that Biden “could do more” to lower gas prices. 

Macchiarola from the American Petroleum Institute summed it up this way: “Unfortunately, this is becoming a pattern. The administration talks about the need for more supply and acts to restrict it. As geopolitical volatility and global energy prices continue to rise, we again urge the administration to end the uncertainty and immediately act on a new five-year program for federal offshore leasing.”