(Washington) The American government of Joe Biden announced on Friday the upcoming issue of new oil and gas exploitation licenses in the Gulf of Mexico, to the great dismay of environmental associations.
The Democratic president is once again breaking his climate campaign promise not to authorize new drilling for fossil fuels on federal lands.
The decision announced Friday is also strongly criticized by the hydrocarbon industry because it concerns three drilling licenses for the period 2025-2029, a much smaller number than the 47 planned for this period under President Donald Trump.
According to the Interior Department, which manages federal lands, the state is required by law to open hydrocarbon permits to be able to authorize more wind projects.
This law, the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), constitutes the major investment desired by President Joe Biden in the energy transition and the climate, but by the summer of 2022 he had not succeeded in winning a majority in Congress on this text. only with a compromise including this provision favoring fossil fuels.
“The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to building a clean energy future that delivers energy independence for America,” said Interior Secretary Deb Haaland.
The document validated Friday, “which represents the lowest number of sales of gas and oil exploitation licenses in History (in this context), allows the department to support the growing wind industry,” adds the press release. .
But these comments did not reassure the environmental and climate defense associations.
“This decision is more than disappointing,” reacted Beth Lowell of the NGO Oceana, “at a time when Americans are facing the impacts of the climate crisis with more frequent and more intense fires, droughts, hurricanes and floods “.
“President Biden is unfortunately showing the world that it’s OK to put polluters ahead of real climate solutions,” she added.
“For years, experts have been warning us that any new fossil fuel production is incompatible with limiting warming to 1.5°C,” said Mattea Mrkusic of the Evergreen Action association. “And this week, the International Energy Agency (IEA) reaffirmed that this type of fossil fuel project is not necessary to meet energy demand,” said Mattea Mrkusic.
The American Petroleum Institute, the main American oil lobby, for its part criticized authorizations that were too “restricted”.
“As the country is beset by inflation, the Biden administration is choosing poor energy policies that add to the pain Americans are feeling at the pump,” said President Mike Sommers.
Earlier this year, the Biden administration banned any new gas or oil exploitation in a huge area of northern Alaska to respond to “the climate crisis”, five months after having approved a hydrocarbon project of ConocoPhillips in this same state, close to the Arctic.
The Democrat had put these operating licenses on hold at the start of his mandate, but according to experts, his room for maneuver was limited by the courts and decisions unfavorable to his climate policy from the Supreme Court.