Interior Cancels Another Lease Sale While Gas Prices Continue to Skyrocket

Dysfunctional energy policy could be driving Americans’ pain at the pump

May 13, 2022

(Washington, DC) – Yesterday, the Department of the Interior announced it was canceling planned oil and gas lease sales in Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico in the middle of a heightened energy crisis at home and abroad. A Department spokesperson blamed the cancellation of part of the proposed sale on the “lack of interest” from oil and gas companies to drill. Critics of the move were quick to attribute this lack of interest to the federal government’s energy policy.

As one of its first actions, the Biden Administration issued an executive order halting oil and gas lease sales on public lands and waters. Months later a federal judge ordered them resumed. Earlier this year, FGI began an investigation into the federal government’s oil and gas policy, seeking records related to a request for the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate oil and gas companies for price gouging and records from a variety of relevant agencies around offshore leases. A month into the investigation, the administration announced that leasing sales would resume, though with an 80 percent reduction in acreage and a more than 50 percent increase in royalties. Industry insiders claimed these changes could result in lower production, hampering efforts to reduce prices.

Interior’s decision comes during a time of crisis at the pump, where Americans are paying nearly double what they were two years ago. FGI will continue to press for answers about the federal government’s oil and gas policy.

Peter McGinnis, spokesman for FGI, issued the following statement:

“If there is a better example of the impact of government dysfunction on the lives of Americans, I can’t think of one. No matter how hard they try, the government cannot repeal the laws of supply and demand. It is more than a little puzzling that, at a time of skyrocketing fuel prices and international turmoil involving energy supply, the federal government would make a series of decisions, culminating in the latest cancellation of lease sales, that could serve to restrict energy supply.”