WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) used a recent hearing on the Biden administration’s policies to further expose a concerted effort to make Gulf of Mexico oil and natural gas production prohibitive, including limiting lease sales and imposing a restrictive critical habitat designation for the Rice’s whales.

Hyde-Smith made her argument during a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing on Thursday.

“The evidence of this administration’s assault on domestic fossil fuel energy production is abundantly clear to the total detriment of so many.  On top of a late Five-Year Plan that was supposed to be completed and released more than a year ago, the administration has proposed a plan that won’t have any offshore lease sales in 2024.  None.  Zero.  The last time that happened, the year was 1966 and LBJ was President,” Hyde-Smith said.  “What’s worse is that there is no guarantee the only three lease sales in this five-year plan will ever even take place.  I’m putting my money on this administration doing everything it can to ensure that it doesn’t.”

ENR Hearing Offshore 4
WATCH:  Senator Hyde-Smith questions Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Director Elizabeth Klein on following the law as the agency plans to limit the oil and gas lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico.

Responses to Hyde-Smith questioning regarding the Rice’s whales proposed rule showed oil and gas ships being singled out for restrictions, though the door was opened to the possibility of expanding those restrictive mediation requirements vessels outside of the oil and gas industry.

“I have heard from many of my constituents on how the rushed and unjustified proposed rule from the National Marine Fisheries Service could affect their jobs.  The ramifications would extend to serious issues in the supply chain, economy, energy production, and national security,” Hyde-Smith said.

102623 ENR Hearing Offshore 3 
WATCH:  Senator Hyde-Smith questions National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Assistant Administrator for Fisheries Janet Coit about vessel mitigations associated with a proposed critical habitat designation for the Rice's whales.