One of President Biden’s first actions when he took office was banning new oil and gas lease sales on federal lands and waters. This moratorium on new leases in federal waters has been particularly devastating to south Alabama and the Gulf Coast region. These actions resulted in the cancellation of scheduled lease sales under the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act (GOMESA) program, which provides critical revenue to our state and our region.
I immediately got to work and introduced the Gulf Conservation and Recreation Funding Act, which would require the Department of Interior to pay GOMESA states (Alabama is one of them) the revenues they are missing out on due to leases canceled by President Biden’s Executive Order 14008 on January 26, 2021. This is a huge issue for AL-01 because in 2020, GOMESA funds supported upwards of $26 million in recreation and conservation projects in south Alabama. These projects include boat ramps, shoreline restorations, bike trails, and park enhancements. Each year, local county commissioners and municipal governments plan projects based on forecasted GOMESA funds. Since the cancellation of new lease sales, our coastal communities and our state have been denied a vital source of funding.
While GOMESA funds are majorly important for our coastal communities, the impacts of the Administration’s decision to cancel oil and gas lease sales on federal lands and waters impacts so much more. For almost a year and a half now, ALL of us have been paying more and more at the pump each time we fill up. These rising fuel prices are also contributing to significant cost increases for virtually everything we purchase – especially our groceries and basic household items.
Thankfully, the Biden administration has been feeling the pressure from federal courts and from the American people, and we are finally seeing some progress on rolling back their war on American energy. Just last Friday, the administration announced it would resume oil and gas lease sales on federal lands beginning this week. This is a great step in the right direction, but it unfortunately does not include lease sales on federal waters and it limits the acreage available to about two-thirds of what was available during the Trump administration.
Just recently, I introduced the Unleashing American Energy Act, which would require a minimum of two oil and gas lease sales a year in the Gulf of Mexico and in the Alaska Region of the Outer Continental Shelf (this would bring us back to Trump-era levels). My bill would also prohibit future moratoriums or delays on oil and gas leasing. Although this bill won’t solve all our energy problems overnight, it will help lower energy prices, bring relief to millions of Americans, and ensure liberals can’t cripple our energy industry again.
America has abundant natural resources, and we produce the cleanest energy in the world. Becoming energy independent is critically important for the United States because it will result in lower energy prices for all Americans, while ensuring we do not rely on dictators and terrorists around the globe to provide for our energy needs. I’ve been fighting to make this happen for over a year, and I won’t let up until we fully unleash American energy and end the regulatory assault on our energy producers.
Jerry Carl represents Alabama’s First Congressional District. He lives in Mobile with his wife Tina.