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February 15, 2021

US BOEM rescinds ROD for Gulf of Mexico oil and gas lease sale 257

The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has rescinded the record of decision (BOEM) has rescinded the record of decision (ROD) for the Gulf of Mexico oil and gas lease sale 257.

By Shalini Nair

The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has rescinded the record of decision (BOEM) has rescinded the record of decision (ROD) for the Gulf of Mexico oil and gas lease sale 257.

This move pauses the proposed sale, which was expected to happen next month.

In response to Executive Order 14008, signed by US President Joe Biden on 27 January, the BOEM has rescinded the ROD.

According to the order signed by President Biden, the Secretary of the Interior has been directed to pause new oil and gas leasing on public lands and offshore waters, pending completion of a thorough review of federal oil and gas activities.

In November 2020, it was reported that the BOEM intended to offer 78.2 million acres in a Gulf of Mexico lease sale slated for March 2021.

Lease Sale 257 was to be the eighth offshore sale under the 2017-2022 Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program.

The sale was to include around 14,594 unleased blocks in the federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

Commenting on the ROD, National Ocean Industries Association president Erik Milito said: “We remain hopeful that the administration will proceed with the lease sale upon completion of its review. Pursuant to the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, Interior completed multiple environmental reviews and specifically considered the climate impacts in 2016 during the Obama administration.

“The Obama administration review of the 2017-2022 Five Year Plan for offshore oil and gas leasing determined GHG emissions would be higher without these lease sales because energy production would be outsourced to foreign counties resulting in a higher carbon footprint. Offshore oil production has the lowest carbon intensity of the oil-producing regions and supports more than 345,000 jobs, many of which are accessible, high-paying and cannot be easily substituted.”

Consumer Energy Alliance (CEA) president David Holt said: “Purposefully causing economic and environmental harm during an economic crisis which directly hurts blue-collar workers, destroys the livelihoods of entire communities across the Gulf, while threatening conservation program funding and immediately impacting coastal restoration funding, is the wrong approach.  It has long been proven that offshore energy development in the US is among the most-regulated and environmentally responsible production on the planet.

“America gained its energy independence while proving to the world that record energy production could co-exist alongside record emissions reductions, which we have delivered year after year for two decades. Actions like this reverse this course. While we disagree with this particular decision, CEA and its members representing farmers, truckers, manufacturers, labour, small business and individual families all across the nation continue to stand ready to work with the administration to secure aggressive environmental progress.”

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