By William Patrick, The Center Square
Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry is touting an oil-and-gas land lease sale – the first of the Biden administration – that could deliver $100 million to the state in the next year.
The funding estimate is based on past lease sales and will come from revenue sharing measures contained in the Gulf of Mexico Security Act, according to attorney general’s office.
A Landry spokesperson said Louisiana, along with Texas, Mississippi and Alabama, is eligible for three separate revenue streams: bonus payments when the lease commences, ground rent and royalties.
The funds also are used to for coastal conservation, restoration and hurricane protection, according to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM).
“Lease sales generate millions and millions of dollars dedicated to environmental protection projects,” Landry said in a news release.
Landry led a coalition of 13 states that sued the administration after President Joe Biden suspended new leases for oil-and-gas drilling and fracking on federal lands and waters upon taking office in January.
A federal judge sided with Landry in June, allowing lease sales to continue while the issue remains in litigation.
BOEM, an agency within the U.S. Department of the Interior, conducted Lease Sale 257 in New Orleans on Wednesday. The sale included about 15,135 unleased blocks of public land located 3 to 231 miles offshore in the Gulf of Mexico.
Speaking outside the event, Landry told reporters, “It’s not enough.”
“We need a five-year lease plan,” he said.
The secretary of the Interior is required under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA) to prepare a five-year program that includes a schedule of oil-and-gas lease sales.
BOEM shows the multiyear lease plans have continued uninterrupted since 1980, but the current 2017-2022 plan is set to expire next year without a replacement.
Biden has expressed a desire to “transition” away from oil.
A Jan. 27 executive order halting federal lease sales said they contribute to climate change.
“The United States and the world face a profound climate crisis,” the order read. “We have a narrow moment to pursue action at home and abroad in order to avoid the most catastrophic impacts of that crisis and to seize the opportunity that tackling climate change presents.”
Landry said Wednesday he is prepared to sue the administration again over the development of the five-year plan.
“We’ll again look at other ways which will unfortunately involve going to the courts and asking them to act,” Landry said.