WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Congressman Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) is leading a letter to Interior Secretary Deb Haaland pressing for answers as to the Department's "pause" on oil and gas leases that was blocked by a federal judge recently.
In the letter, Crenshaw and 37 lawmakers raise concerns about the impact of the Department's initial decision to “pause” new oil and gas leasing on both federal offshore and onshore lands and call on the Department to provide remedies for the canceled lease sales.
"We remain concerned, however, about the harms already caused by the mandated 'pause,'' said the lawmakers. "In addition to resuming lease sales, the Department should provide remedies for the cancellation of leases that occurred this year."
As the Houston Chronicle reported in August, "a drilling ban on federal lands and waters could cost the oil and gas industry up to 1 million jobs nationally by 2022, including 120,000 jobs in Texas."
"Additionally, the Department is expected to release its review of the onshore and offshore oil and gas leasing programs in the coming weeks. Despite requesting additional information from the public related to the March 25, 2021 forum on the review of the leasing programs, it is unclear what information was received and how it was incorporated in the Department’s interim report," the lawmakers continued. "Without access to this information, Congress and the public cannot fully evaluate whether the Department thoughtfully considered the input of interested stakeholders in reviewing the programs. The Department’s lack of transparency increases our concerns surrounding how the review was conducted."
The lawmakers requested the following documents from the Administration:
1. A document sufficient to describe the Department’s plans to resume regular lease sales.
2. A document sufficient to describe the Department’s plans to hold additional lease sales to remedy the cancellation of sales between January 27, 2021 and June 15, 2021.
3. A document sufficient to describe the Department’s legal analysis to support its decision to pause oil and gas leasing.
4. A document sufficient to show the impact of lease cancellations on Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act funding resulting from lost bonus bids, royalties and rents and the Department’s proposed remedy for the related revenue loss.
5. A document sufficient to show the impact of lease cancellations on federal energy revenues made available to states under the Mineral Leasing Act resulting from lost bonus bids, royalties and rent, and the Department’s proposed remedy for the related revenue loss.
6. A document sufficient to describe the Department’s plans to make the comments and additional information submitted for the March 25, 2021 forum available to the public.
7. A document listing all members of the Paris Climate Agreement that have banned oil and gas development.
8. A document sufficient to describe the Department’s analysis on how U.S. energy independence would be impacted prior to executing the decision to pause new oil and gas leasing on both federal offshore and onshore lands.
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