Joe Biden Is Screwing With Offshore Oil. Oil, And Louisiana, Are Fighting Back.

You might have heard about the latest ridiculous restriction the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) of the Biden Administration laid on the oil and gas industry in the Gulf of Mexico. If you haven’t, here’s what they did

Under the NTL issued Monday, BOEM created a vast new protection zone stretching across the Gulf of Mexico with a variety of new conditions for industry operators. Among its recommendations, BOEM said specially-trained visual observers should be aboard all vessels traversing the area, all ships regardless of size should travel no quicker than 10 knots, and vessels should only travel through the area in the daytime.

Those recommendations will be introduced as stipulations to Lease Sale 261, an upcoming offshore oil and gas lease auction. And BOEM removed an estimated 11 million acres of potential oil-rich lease blocks from that lease sale under its actions Monday.

This is supposedly about protecting a minor species of whale, but you know very well that’s just a pretext for Team Biden’s enviroloons trying to shut down domestic oil and gas production.

So naturally, there’s a pushback. And thank God for that.

The American Petroleum Institute (API), the state of Louisiana, and oil giant Chevron have sued the Biden administration over a decision to withdraw more than 6m acres from a Gulf of Mexico oil and gas lease sale to protect an endangered whale species.

On Wednesday, the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) announced that the Gulf of Mexico Oil and Gas Lease Sale 261 will go ahead on September 27, 2023.

According to BOEM, Lease Sale 261 will offer approximately 12,395 blocks on around 67 million acres on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf in the Western, Central, and Eastern Planning Areas in the Gulf of Mexico.

But there were some caveats in that statement though. BOEM stated that it would be expanding the habitat area for a species of whale known as Rice’s Whale as well as adding other restrictions.

Namely, a 10-knot vessel speed restriction for all vessels, regardless of size, and a minimum separation distance of 500 meters from Rice’s whales and any whale he cannot confirm as not being a member of that species.

Also, all vessels 65 feet or greater must have AIS and avoid transit through the Expanded Rice’s Whale Area after dusk and before dawn and during other times of low visibility “to the maximum extent practicable.”

Erik Milito, the National Ocean Industries Association (NOIA) president, responded to the decision that such measures would “impact the ability of the offshore energy industry to explore, construct, and develop energy projects in the Gulf of Mexico.”

On top of this, the API, the state of Louisiana, and Chevron sued BOEM and the Department of the Interior at the federal court for the Western District of Louisiana claiming that last-minute changes to Lease Sale 261 were “arbitrary and unlawful.”

The lawsuit has some even more interesting allegations…

According to the lawsuit, the previous opinion issued by the National Marine Fisheries Services implemented certain restrictions for vessels travelling in the “core” habitat of Rice’s whale. That portion of the Gulf was already subject to a congressional moratorium on leasing and the requirements proposed at the time were largely seen by interested parties as “uncontroversial and unobjectionable.”

The new BOEM lease stipulations contained “burdensome operating restrictions across a newly defined and vastly enlarged expanded Rice’s Whale area” that “more than doubled the size of the former area and extended it across the entire stretch of the Gulf,” the lawsuit claimed. The documents also stated that all acreage falling under this expanded area was withdrawn from Lease Sale 261.

Which proves that the Rice’s whale thing is a pretext, and a spurious one at that.


Suing in the Western District of Louisiana means the plaintiffs are going to get a Republican judge who will void the additional terms of the lease sale, and the Fifth Circuit will almost certainly uphold that decision.

But this is a perfect illustration of just how aggressive Team Biden is in attempting to restrict domestic energy – at a time when gas prices are rising again and the economy is stagnating.

This can’t continue.



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