The Joe Biden administration has not ruled out new oil and gas drilling off the U.S. coast, according to media reports. The Interior Department’s plan includes plans to drill in the Gulf of Mexico and off the coast of Alaska. During his campaign, Biden promised not to issue new offshore drilling permits.
The administration is required by law to propose a five-year plan for licensing offshore drilling. It comes at a difficult time as the administration is under pressure from high gas prices and is pursuing its own commitment to fighting global warming.
The plan includes options ranging from no new offshore drilling to awarding 10 licenses in the Gulf of Mexico – where most offshore drilling is already taking place – and one license in the Gulf of Alaska through a drilling rights auction. The plan also prohibits drilling in public waters along the Atlantic and Pacific coasts.
Interior Secretary Deb Holland insists in the Washington Post that the plan has not yet been finalized. This reduces areas eligible for licensing compared to former President Donald Trump in 2018.
The plan is expected to be criticized by environmentalists. But as the five-year plan lacks long-term plans, a government-wide approach and no clear signals to the market, the companies involved are also unhappy.
However, the US still wants to meet the environmental standards that have been set. By 2030, it wants to halve greenhouse gas emissions compared to 2005 levels. On Thursday, the Supreme Court dealt a severe blow to the Biden administration’s climate policy, ruling that it is up to the states, not the US environmental agency EPA. Coal-fired power plants were mandated to adhere to general emission norms.
“The United States remains committed to meeting its greenhouse gas emissions targets despite the Supreme Court ruling,” John Kerry, the Biden administration’s climate envoy, told AFP in an interview. “If there is a majority on the court, we will understand how serious the situation is and try to help, not hinder us.”
President Joe Biden, who brought the U.S. back into the Paris climate accords after withdrawing from its predecessor, announced in April 2021 that the U.S. would reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 50 to 52 percent by 2030 compared to 2005 levels.
In the fight against global warming, Kerry said, “I’m sure this decision gives us ample opportunity to do all kinds of things that we need to do — and our lawyers are looking into that in detail.” “Nobody, not banks or private lenders, is going to finance new coal-fired power plants in America.”
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