OAN Geraldyn Berry
5:16 PM PT – Friday, March 3, 2023
Notwithstanding its promises to raise royalty payments, the Biden administration has admitted in a document that charging fossil fuel firms less to drill will result in “better energy security” on Friday.
According to a memo obtained by Fox News Digital, Amanda Lefton, the former director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), recommended late last year that the Department of the Interior (DOI) proceed with higher royalty fees for an oil and gas lease sale encompassing 958,202 acres in the Cook Inlet off the coast of Alaska as part of its climate agenda. The recommendation was finally approved by Laura Daniel-Davis, Assistant Secretary at DOI.
“If a Cook Inlet prospect would be developed, there would be additional government revenues and greater energy security for the State of Alaska, especially if development of natural gas resources in the Cook Inlet ameliorated the long-term supply challenges facing the Anchorage area,” Lefton wrote. “Nevertheless, because of the serious challenges facing the Nation from climate change and the impact of [greenhouse gasses] from fossil fuels, BOEM is not recommending this option since it would not include an appropriate surcharge to account for those impacts.”
In particular, Lefton’s suggested that the federal government charge drillers a royalty fee of 18.75% rather than the alternative of 16.67%, which she claimed would draw more bids and “be more likely to facilitate rapid and orderly development of [offshore] resources.”
After approving Lefton’s proposal in November, Daniel-Davis published her record of decision, in which she explained why she had chosen an 18.75% fee. “This rate offers the most appropriate balancing of environmental and economic issues for the American public.” She omitted mentioning how the alternative would result in more secure access to electricity, as noted in the memo.
Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) made a statement.
“The Department of the Interior mistakenly posted an internal memo making recommendations to Acting Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management, Laura Daniel Davis, on the Cook Inlet Oil and Gas Lease Sale 258 mandated by the Inflation Reduction Act,” Manchin said. “I am appalled by its contents, which make crystal clear that this administration is literally putting their radical climate agenda ahead of the needs of the people of Alaska and the United States.”
The Democrat criticized the administration for allegedly bowing to environmental groups and disobeying the will of Congress “at the expense of shoring up American energy security and maintaining American safety.”