Mississippi Senators call on Interior Department to hold GoM lease sale

June 29, 2021
Letter also calls on Secretary Haaland to disclose plans for OCS leasing program.

Offshore staff

WASHINGTON, DC – US Senators Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss., are calling on the Biden administration to conduct lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico and to provide answers on the future of the federal offshore leasing program.

The Mississippi Senators joined colleagues in sending Interior Secretary Deb Haaland a letter that also questions the timing of future sales and status of the development of the 2022-2027 National Outer Continental Shelf Leasing Program, as required by law.

“As we approach 100 days past the scheduled date of the ‘paused’ Gulf of Mexico Lease Sale 257 and in light of the recent ruling of the U.S. Western District Court of Louisiana against the Department of the Interior’s (Department) ongoing review of the federal leasing program, we write to compel the Department to conduct Gulf of Mexico Lease Sale 257, originally scheduled for March 17, 2021,” the senators wrote.

“Because the 2017-2022 program expires on July 1, 2022, we are concerned the Department is unlikely to finalize a new program before the current program expires. Consequently, the Department may not be in compliance with the OCS Lands Act’s mandate to maintain a leasing program,” the lawmakers continued.

The senators went on to note: “Given the reality of the data, additional production in the Gulf would actually do more to serve the Nation’s climate goals than a moratorium, especially since oil and gas will still be needed for the fuel, plastics, and lubricants required in a modern economy.”

Other US Senators signing the bill included Bill Cassidy, R-La., Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and John Kennedy, R-La.