The Biden administration has been caught exaggerating the number of unused oil and gas drilling permits that it has approved. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), a subagency of the Department of the Interior (DOI), revised the current number of approved applications for permits to drill (APD) down from an estimated 9,000 to less than 6,700. The BLM blamed the revision on a technical change made during the Trump administration that it hadn’t properly accounted for.
This change suggests that President Biden and his administration officials had overstated the extent to which oil and gas companies have neglected producing on approved permits amid the global energy crisis last year.
In response to widespread criticism regarding the administration’s restrictions on federal fossil fuel leasing amid all-time high gasoline prices, the White House repeatedly touted the 9,000-permit figure and argued industry had the ability to immediately begin producing.
“Right now, the oil and gas industry is sitting on nearly 9,000 unused but approved permits for production on federal lands,” Biden remarked in March 2022. “Families can’t afford that companies sit on … their hands.”
“Despite the administration’s inaccurate and misleading numbers, the reality is that the U.S. natural gas and oil industry is confronting the global energy crisis by continuing to work to meet the energy needs of U.S. consumers and our allies abroad,” said Frank Macchiarola, the American Petroleum Institute’s senior vice president of policy, economics and regulatory affairs.
It’s time for the administration to end the finger-pointing and instead support American production with a comprehensive strategy for American energy development – one that includes a final five-year program for offshore leasing and quarterly onshore lease sales.