22 C
Lahore

Biden admin quietly settles with eco groups to restrict oil drilling in Gulf of Mexico

Date:

Share:


The Biden administration quietly entered into a court settlement late Friday with a coalition of environmental groups who have pushed for more wildlife protections from offshore oil development activity

In a stipulated stay agreement filed with the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) agreed to a number of conditions requested by the coalition of four eco groups led by the Sierra Club which, in response, agreed to temporarily pause litigation in the case. Fossil fuel industry groups, though, blasted the settlement, saying it would hamper domestic energy production.

“This private settlement agreement between the federal government and environmental activists places unfounded restrictions on operations in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico that severely hamper America’s ability to produce energy in a region that is responsible for the lowest carbon-intensive barrels in the world,” the American Petroleum Institute (API) and EnerGeo Alliance said in a joint statement. 

“Despite no evidence to warrant this far-reaching ban on operations after extensive data collections, today’s agreement undermines the integrity of legitimate conservation and habitat protection efforts, violates the explicit directives of Congress in enacting the Inflation Reduction Act, and harms America’s energy independence,” the two industry groups added.

BIDEN ADMIN UNVEILS SWEEPING NEW ACTIONS INCREASING COSTS FOR OIL, GAS LEASING

The Biden administration has taken a number of steps to restrict oil and gas leasing since President Biden took office. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Under the settlement, the Biden administration agreed to create expanded protection areas for the Rice’s whale species that environmental groups argued weren’t properly protected under previous assessments. However, the government stated it had no “reason to believe” whales would be harmed by oil and gas activities in the newly expanded Gulf of Mexico protection areas.

In addition, the administration agreed to exclude about 11 million acres with rich oil resources in the Gulf of Mexico from future lease sales. That acreage would likely have been available for future lease sales mandated under the Inflation Reduction Act.

BIDEN ADMIN MAKES STUNNING ADMISSION ON CLIMATE AGENDA IN LEAKED INTERNAL MEMO

And the federal government will impose new restrictions on oil and gas vessels, but not the thousands of vessels operated in other industries in the area. As such, oil and gas vessels must operate at slower speeds, which could cut transit windows to less than 40% of the time annually and 25% during the winter, according to API.

Overall, the restrictions could have the impact of ensuring that future lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico aren’t economically viable.

In about 8,000 feet of water, Shell's Perdido offshore drilling and production platform is the world's deepest offshore rig. Shown in this 2012 photo, it is located in the Gulf of Mexico 200 miles southwest of Houston, Texas. (Photo by Gary Tramontina) (Photo by Gary Tramontina/Corbis via Getty Images)

An offshore drilling and production platform operated by Shell is pictured in the Gulf of Mexico about 200 miles southwest of Houston, Texas. (Gary Tramontina/Corbis via Getty Images)

The case dates back nearly three years when, in October 2020, the environmental group coalition — which additionally included the Center for Biological Diversity, Friends of the Earth and Turtle Island Restoration Network — sued the NMFS for failing to properly assess the oil industry impacts on endangered and threatened marine wildlife in the Gulf of Mexico.

The lawsuit came after the NMFS coordinated a multiagency consultation studying the effects all federally regulated oil and gas activities would have on species listed under the Endangered Species Act in the Gulf of Mexico over the next 50 years. The groups argued in the original complaint that the NMFS’ biological opinion resulting from its consultation was not based on the best science.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

“The feds are ignoring the harm offshore drilling in the Gulf does to sperm whales, loggerhead sea turtles and other endangered species. They’ve shunned science, and we need the court to intervene,” Kristen Monsell, a senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity, said at the time.

The NMFS declined to comment and the Sierra Club didn’t respond to a request for comment.



Source link

Subscribe to our magazine

━ more like this

World Cup 2023: Which record can Shaheen Afridi break during mega event?

Pakistan's ace fast bowler Shaheen Afridi could break another record during the ICC Men's World Cup 2023, slated to kick start on October...

Tammy Beaumont, Harry Brook named PCA Players of the Year

Beaumont, winner of the women's award in 2016, collected the accolade for a second time after a stellar summer in which she broke...

Hitler’s birth house will become a police station to keep neo-Nazis away

Comment on this storyCommentAustria has started work to turn the yellow-brick house where Adolf Hitler was born into a police station, in a...

Overheard on NBA media day: New-look Bucks, LeBron’s understudy and … a green alien?

The 2023-24 NBA season is just weeks away, and as the players and coaches prepare for training camp, our NBA insiders are breaking...

Liverpool predicted lineup vs Union Saint-Gilloise – Europa League

Jurgen Klopp will not be wanting his Liverpool players to dismiss or forget the injustice that occurred at Tottenham on Saturday, but to...
spot_img