Lankford Holds Biden Administration Accountable for Delaying US Energy and Mineral Production
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WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today questioned Secretary of the Interior, Deb Haaland, about why the Biden Administration is standing in the way of US energy and mineral development when, at the same time, Lankford noted yesterday, they are calling for lower prices at the pump. In today’s Senate Energy and Natural Resources hearing about the President’s budget proposal for the Department of the Interior for fiscal year 2023, Lankford asked Secretary Haaland about ongoing delays in the on-shore and off-shore leasing of domestic energy and minerals. Lankford stood up for Oklahoma military installations and Tribes seeking to interact with the Department on mineral leases and processes and in other areas, but they’ve told him they have not received timely responses from the Department.
At an energy hearing earlier this week, Lankford asked Canadian energy leaders how Canada’s energy permitting process compares to the lengthy and difficult process for getting a mine application approved in the US as well as how we can bring the US to mineral independence. He also asked about Biden’s first foreign policy decision to move our oil imports from Canada to Russia and eventually Russia and OPEC.
Lankford introduced a bill to establish a secure supply chain of critical minerals and counter China’s market dominance by leveraging the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) partnership, which includes the US, Australia, India, and Japan. Lankford also authored legislation expanding the Department of Energy’s Title 17 loan program to include critical minerals development, processing, and recycling projects, which became law in 2021.
Lankford introduced the Energy Regulations Certainty Act to prevent President Biden from issuing new US oil and gas regulations and restrictions until after Russian troops have withdrawn from Ukraine. Lankford continues to lead the Senate on how to address the problems Biden has caused for stalled US energy production, skyrocketing gas prices, and increased home energy costs. Lankford continues to express support for Ukraine amid Russian aggression and repeatedly called on the US to cut off the purchase of Russian oil and gas. Lankford sent two letters to the President asking him to restore America’s energy dominance and to change course on the failing energy policies that are emboldening Putin. Lankford stood up to FERC for its ongoing push to stifle and even stop US energy production because of Biden’s lock-step with climate-change extremists.
On delays for permitting offshore drilling projects
Lankford: When is the earliest we can actually start leasing?
Haaland: …So, we plan to have the proposed program by June 30, and it’s another 90 plus 60, 150 days after that…
Lankford: So you’re saying by the end of this year, by December 31, at that point with that calendar, that you would be able to start leasing at that point?
Haaland: I will absolutely keep you abreast of the progress that we’re making and make sure that this Committee knows…
Lankford: So when is the deadline on it, to be able to start leasing actually, to be able to get to this point to have this process done?
Haaland: …I don’t think there is an actual deadline.
Lankford: That’s the concern actually that all of us have is that there’s actually no deadline, that the proposal to talk about it is coming on the date that it should be done and that this is going to then stretch out for the next two or three years of talking about it. And so we’re trying to figure out: when’s the deadline to start leasing?
On obstacles to domestic mineral production due to the Biden Administration’s policies
Lankford: The Administration talks a lot about critical minerals development, in the southwest, there is a company that has gone through the leasing process to actually do leasing since 2017 on lithium in that area, and now there is a pretty dramatic change where there’s been a withholding of the core of their lithium deposit that they’re now saying, ‘Well you can do all of your development but not here in the core of actually the project itself. It’s being held out.’ All they’re looking for is for the information of how this decision’s made and what they can actually get public about the actual mineral process itself. All they want is just engagement, but they’re not getting the engagement at this point. And this is lithium deposits, which I understand we’re trying to go after.
On Biden’s “checkerboard” of approvals of on-shore development leases stifling production
Lankford: I’m interacting with companies that are saying there’s a checkerboard of leases, and yes they’re producing. But they’ve got a lease, and they can’t get the leases around it. So they’re not going to go develop that lease until they know they can actually lease around it. So this checkerboard is not being made available to them. So they’re saying, ‘Just drill on what you’ve got,’ and they’re saying, ‘Well, we’re not going to really do long-term, intensive development there, bring in additional employees, bring in additional supplies until we know we can actually connect these leases and do more development, but that’s not being allowed by your team.