Trump’s Department of the Interior, headed by a man submerged in fossil fuel stock, is selling off the rights to offshore drilling. This comes after the January announcement that one of the worst administrations in the history of history would begin opening offshore drilling everywhere, except where a couple of Republican officials didn’t want them. This sell-out to the fossil fuel industry has been packaged as a way to create jobs and make America strong, like bull. But as the Center for American Progress points out, this administration’s idea about how to go about monetizing our country’s federal land seems to be by making a bidding process that’s inopportune and uncompetitive.
The federal law underpinning offshore oil and gas development—the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act—requires that the Department of the Interior only grant leases of publicly owned offshore resources to qualified bidders through “competitive bidding” and that federal offshore leasing “shall be conducted to assure receipt of fair market value for the lands leased.”
In spite of this clear legal mandate for the parameters of stewardship, the Trump administration’s actions on offshore drilling policy, including last week’s regionwide auction, are flooding the market for leases at a time of low industry interest, eliminating competition among bidders, and minimizing the returns to American taxpayers—to whom the resources belong.
CAP compares the numbers to illustrate the depth of the bamboozling going on.
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