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Biden Admin to Hold Alaskan Offshore Oil Sale

Forced by new legislation to reverse course, the Biden administration will hold an offshore oil and gas sale in the Cook Inlet in Alaska by the end of 2022, according to ENERGYWIRE’S E&E News (subscription).

What’s going on: The Interior Department’s announcement, a walkback of an earlier decision to kill the auction, was mandated by last month’s reconciliation legislation.

  • The legislation requires the administration to go ahead with three such sales: one in the Cook Inlet and two in the Gulf of Mexico. 
  • “According to a notice published Wednesday in the Federal Register, the Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management will offer up to 224 lease blocks for sale to operators in the northern part of Cook Inlet’s federally managed waters between Kalgin Island and Augustine Island.”

Why it’s important: “[P]roponents of continued leasing, including Alaska’s congressional delegation, argue that the Cook Inlet remains an important source of natural gas used in the surrounding region for power and home heating.”

  • Some environmental groups have decried the move, leading to calls for “President Biden to issue an order permanently banning leasing in the inlet’s federal waters.”

Our take: “Manufacturers and their families are facing record-high energy prices, but it could be far worse if not for domestic energy production,” said NAM Vice President of Energy and Resources Policy Rachel Jones.

  • “That’s why the NAM is working hard to be part of the solution and has continually urged President Biden to take actions to increase domestic energy production to ease some of the strains on the economy and improve the competitiveness of manufacturing in America.”
  • “It’s unfortunate that it took Congress forcing his hand, but we are excited to support this critical opportunity to increase domestic energy production, enhance U.S. energy security and drive down energy prices.”
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