Today, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, released the following statement on the Department of the Interior's (DOI) unprecedented delay in releasing a five-year leasing plan.
"Monday night, the Department of the Interior made it painfully clear -- again -- that they are putting their radical climate agenda ahead of our nation's energy security, and they are willing to go to great lengths to do it. The earliest that Interior will release a legally required program for 2023-2028 offshore oil and gas leasing will be the end of this year. That's 18 months late. This is the first time in our nation's history that we haven't had a 5-year leasing program released before the old plan expired. Every other Administration, Democrat and Republican, has managed to follow the law in a timely fashion.
"Let me be clear -- this is not optional. The Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act mandates that the Secretary of the Interior "shall prepare" this program to "best meet national energy needs."
"What is even more terrifying is that on top of this disturbing timeline, Interior refuses to confirm if they intend to actually include any lease sales in the final plan, which is an issue I sounded the alarm about when Secretary Haaland appeared before the Senate Energy and Natural Resource Committee on May 19, 2022. I will remind the Administration that the Inflation Reduction Act also prevents them from issuing any leases for renewables, like offshore wind or onshore solar unless there are first reasonable lease sales for oil and gas that actually result in leases being awarded. And I will hold their feet to the fire on this."