As the Biden energy crisis drags on and voters continue to notice how they are still paying more for everything from gasoline to utility bills, the White House has been desperately trying to sound like they are doing their part to promote domestic oil production. They have scheduled plenty of auctions for drilling leases and they even included a mandate for significant amounts of land to be made available for exploration as part of the hilariously named Inflation Reduction Act. But the underlying reality makes those claims and plans ring hollow. First of all, most of the scheduled lease auctions have been canceled. And the demands made by the recent legislation still don’t take effect for a while. (Assuming they do, but more on that in a bit.) So how poorly has Biden done in this regard as compared to his predecessors? The Wall Street Journal informs us today that no president since the end of World War 2 has leased fewer acres of land for energy exploration at this point in their presidency. (Subscription required)

The Biden administration has leased fewer acres for oil-and-gas drilling offshore and on federal land than any other administration in its early stages dating back to the end of World War II, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis.

President Biden’s Interior Department leased 126,228 acres for drilling through Aug. 20, his first 19 months in office, the analysis found. No other president since Richard Nixon in 1969-70 leased out fewer than 4.4 million acres at this stage in his first term.

Harry Truman was the last president to lease out fewer acres—65,658—in 1945-46, when offshore drilling was just beginning and the federal government didn’t yet control the deep-water leases that have made up the largest part of the federal oil-and-gas program in modern times.

Joe Biden is at least doing better than Harry Truman, so that’s something, right? Well, it might be were it not for the fact that offshore drilling was still in its infancy in 1945 and no legislation had been passed to allow the federal government to grant such leases. There just wasn’t that much drilling action going on.

Biden is running 97% behind Donald Trump at the same point in his presidency, and Trump wasn’t exactly breaking any records. The reality behind that fact is that many producers had already shifted to shale fracking by 2016 so the demand wasn’t as high. But Trump still managed to auction off 4.4 million as compared to Biden’s less than 130 thousand.

As mentioned above, the recently passed “inflation” legislation requires the federal government to offer at least 2 million acres of federal land and 60 million offshore acres per year for oil and gas leasing. But as the linked report points out, there are caveats attached. First of all, they only have to do that in years when they want to authorize wind and solar farms on federal land. If there are enough projects underway on state-owned and private land, they can skip the oil and gas leases. An even more sneaky but legal trick would be to only offer offshore leases in undesirable areas where the oil and gas companies would not want to drill.

Thinking back on this administration’s performance thus far, do you have any doubt that they are already looking at those avenues as ways to thwart any additional exploration and development? C’mon, man. What a bunch of malarkey.

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