“The president has cancelled a lease sale worth tens of millions of dollars—one that the Obama Administration had approved. I urge President Biden to stop his war on Louisiana’s oil and gas jobs.” Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today condemned the Biden administration’s cancellation of an oil and gas lease sale in the Gulf of Mexico scheduled for March 17. The sale of available leases was to be livestreamed from New Orleans and would have involved approximately 78.3 million unleased acres. “Destroying jobs in an industry that makes up a third of Louisiana’s economy is no way to ‘Build Back Better.’ Louisiana is still recovering from the pandemic and a historic hurricane season, and President Biden decided to stop new oil and gas leasing on federal lands and waters. Now, the president has cancelled a lease sale worth tens of millions of dollars—one that the Obama Administration had approved. I urge President Biden to stop his war on Louisiana’s oil and gas jobs,” said Kennedy.
On Feb. 12, less than one month into Biden’s presidency, the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management officially announced the lease’s cancellation. This move comes in the wake of President Biden’s ban on new oil and gas leases on federal property, which if left unchanged is estimated to cost Louisiana up to 48,000 jobs by 2022. The Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Lands Act authorizes the Department of Interior to establish a lease sale schedule for the OCS, which covers approximately 160 million acres. Beginning in 2014, former President Barack Obama worked on and ultimately approved a five-year lease plan for the years 2017-2022, which included a spring lease ultimately scheduled for this March.
This schedule stipulated 10 lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico through 2022. Last year’s leases generated a combined total of over $200 million in revenues for Gulf states and the U.S. Treasury. The most recent OCS lease sale occurred on Nov. 18, 2020. It covered over 500,000 acres and generated $120.8 million in lease revenue. Louisiana’s energy industry supports thousands of jobs in the state and provides a significant revenue stream for environmental conservation, coastal restoration and storm protection.