The administration of Old Uncle Joe will most likely end up reinstating oil and gas drilling leases on federal lands in the wake of taking a short-term win in federal court.
As reported this past Friday by Bloomberg News, the Department of the Interior wants to continue with its original plans for new gas and oil drilling in the wake of a three-judge panel from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals placed a stay on a ruling from a lesser court that effectively blocked the Biden admin from utilizing a higher “social cost of carbon” as part of its environmental analyses.
“With this ruling, the Department continues its planning for responsible oil and gas development on America’s public lands and waters,” stated Melissa Schwartz, the Interior Department spokeswoman, as part of an email to Bloomberg. “Calculating the social cost of greenhouse gas emissions provides important information that has been part of the foundation of the work the Interior Department has undertaken over the past year.”
As reported last Wednesday by The Washington Post:
The ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit stayed an order issued last month by a U.S. District Court judge in Louisiana that prevented agencies from considering the harm climate change causes, known as the “social cost of carbon.” This figure is used across the federal government in rulemaking, from issuing new drilling permits to assessing the growing potential for damage such as crop losses and flood risks.
The decision means that, at least until there’s a ruling on the case’s merits, the Biden administration can continue to consider the economic cost of climate change as it writes new rules, and strengthen existing ones, that could inch the country closer to Biden’s goal of cutting emissions in half by the end of the decade compared with 2005 levels.
A group of energy-producing states and industry groups threw lawsuits at the Administration of Old Uncle Joe this past February because of its changed to the “social cost of carbon” for its environmental analyses, especially those that speak on fossil fuel production. The Washington Post reported, Biden drastically spiked the estimated “social cost of carbon” to well over $51 per ton of CO2 put into the air from where it was between $1-$7 estimated by the previous Trump Administration. The industry groups and states stated in their lawsuit that the newly increased estimates would cost “hundreds of billions or trillions of dollars” and “may be the most significant regulatory encroachment upon individual liberty and state sovereignty in American history,” read the report.
A preliminary injunction that was set to block Old Uncle Joe from using the higher numbers was issued by Federal District Judge James J. Cain. In an insane choice at the time, the administration responded to the various appeals by closing out all new oil and gas leases while it dealt with them. This choice harmed a number of oil and gas leases, including a massive oil lease of around 170,000 acres.
The administration has, on many occasions, claimed that its policies on energy are not the cause of spiking energy costs in the country, making the argument that the U.S. currently has 9,000 unused drilling permits for oil and gas, but carious experts from the industry have this claim lacks critical context.