‘I Have Never Seen Such Slow Walking in My Life, to the Detriment of My State of Mississippi,’ Miss. Senator Declares

020822 ENR Nom Hearing - Offshore 1
VIDEO:  Senator Hyde-Smith Questions Nominee on Biden Energy Policies.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) today accused the Biden administration of continuing to slow walk the permitting and lease sales for offshore energy production, to the detriment of Mississippi’s and the nation’s economic wellbeing.

Hyde-Smith made the assertions during an Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing on the nomination of Laura Daniel-Davis to be an Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Land and Minerals Management.

“Here we are again talking about the five-year plan and lease sales within the Gulf of Mexico.  I have never seen such slow walking in my life, to the detriment of my state of Mississippi,” Hyde-Smith said as the hearing dealt with the U.S. Department of the Interior management of an existing five-year off-shore leasing program that expires June 30 and the outlook for a new five-year plan.

“We have witnessed the Biden Administration pleading with Russia and OPEC for oil and natural gas instead of increasing domestic supply, and we continued to dig ourselves into a huge hole by tapping into the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.  We know that oil and natural gas will be part of the U.S. energy portfolio for decades to come, so why is the administration so determined on constricting domestic production, and forcing us to rely on adversaries or our emergency stockpile?” Hyde-Smith asked.

A consistent critic of Biden energy policies to suspend off-shore drilling, Hyde-Smith expressed concern that the existing five-year plan will expire without additional lease sales as required by law due to the administration’s reluctance to support American-produced oil and natural gas resources.

Daniel-Davis testified that the Interior Department is assessing its options after a U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia blocked the federal offshore oil and gas lease sale, Lease Sale 257, conducted in November.  She was also uncertain how the agency would revive Lease 257 for approximately 78.2 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico for oil and gas drilling, or two other mandated lease sales under the current five year plan.  

When pressed by Hyde-Smith for the necessity of a timeline for the next five-year program, scheduled to begin as soon as the current program expires, Daniel-Davis responded, “I don’t have a timeline for you here today.”

“There are a lot of steps involved to ensure these lease sales—which are required by law—actually happen.  We have deadlines for a reason and this flip-flopping within the courts is going to continue to hurt our nation’s energy independence and keep prices high,” Hyde-Smith said.

In December, Hyde-Smith introduced the Domestic Energy Crisis Relief Act (S.3353) in response to rising energy prices and the administration’s active efforts to stifle or stop oil and gas production on federal lands and waters.  She is also an original cosponsor of the Supporting Made in America Renewable and Traditional (SMART) Energy Act (S.3214).