Real Talk: “Early Summer” Passed Long Ago
It’s now been six months since President Biden issued Executive Order 14008 and more than a month since a federal judge ruled that order is actually an illegal ban on federal leasing.
In May, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said that the department’s review of the federal oil and natural gas leasing program would be released by “early summer.”
Then earlier today, while visiting Denver, Haaland said the report will still come “early summer,” despite the fact that August is fast approaching. E&E News reported:
“Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said today that release of the Biden administration’s federal oil and gas review is imminent. ‘The review is coming very, very soon. We promised early summer,” Haaland said, then echoed herself: ‘It’s early summer!’” (emphasis added)
While the official midpoint of summer isn’t until August 7, here in the United States, most people would agree that early summer has come and gone. Kids are gearing up to go back to school, NFL teams are starting training camp and the MLB All-Star Game – you know, “The Midsummer Classic” – has come and gone. In fact, stores are preparing for Halloween and we’re only a month away from the legendary “Pumpkin Spice Latte” season.
We can debate if all of that fall fun is happening too soon another time, but it doesn’t change the fact that the United States is well into summer and yet, when asked about the much-anticipated leasing program review, Secretary Haaland said today: “We’re still working on it.”
More so, the secretary seemed to be caught off guard that the leasing program was even brought up at all during her Colorado visit. To be fair, as Bloomberg Law reports, the “focus [of today’s meeting] was on building resilience and mitigating the effects of wildfires, mudslides, and dwindling water supplies amid the severe and worsening drought in the West.”
Nonetheless, this is an issue that is critically important to the West, including Coloradans – the Denver Post even published an op ed on it ahead of today’s visit, in which Western Energy Alliance’s Kathleen Sgamma said:
“This week provides the perfect opportunity as Interior Secretary Deb Haaland plans a visit to Denver and Grand Junction…
“Hardworking oil and natural gas workers in Colorado and across the country deserve to know when lease sales will resume and when the Interior Department’s report will be released. The ongoing delay is creating a cloud of uncertainty over their jobs and the communities that rely on revenues from responsible energy development.”
Given all of this, it’s not surprising that someone would ask about the leasing program while the Secretary is visiting the Bureau of Land Management’s headquarters – the agency within the Interior Department that oversees onshore leasing.
So if not this week from BLM headquarters, when will the Interior Department answer these questions – or better yet, when will it comply with the court order to resume leasing and release the draft review?