Fossil Fuel Pushback: Biden Administration Forced To Expand Gulf Drilling


The Biden administration was forced to offer up 2,600 square miles of federal oil and gas leases in the Gulf of Mexico this week, following a deal made by West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin (D) in exchange for his support of the left’s climate legislation last summer.

Major oil companies have offered bids on more than 2,600 square miles (6,700 square kilometers) of federal oil and gas leases in the Gulf of Mexico in a sale mandated by the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022. Wednesday’s auction was the first in over a year and was expected to draw interest from major companies, such as ExxonMobil and Chevron.

The Department of Interior’s sale of the leases evidently came two days before a deadline set by the Democrats’ climate bill last year. The Associated Press noted that the specific measure in the bill prohibited leasing public lands for renewable power unless tens of millions of acres were first offered for fossil fuels — which was a major concession by the left and a major deal for Manchin.

Manchin, a centrist Democrat who is up for reelection this cycle, has been a supporter of the fossil fuels industry. He was able to strike a last-minute deal in 2022 that enabled the Democrats to garner enough support in the Senate to pass the legislation that year. Earlier this month, after President Joe Biden vetoed an anti-ESG bill that would prohibit left-wing environmental, social, and governance (ESG) policies to be considered in retirement investing, Manchin, who voted to pass the legislation, slammed the president in a scathing statement, claiming he is prioritizing a “radical policy agenda” over getting the “best financial returns for millions of Americans’ retirement investments.”

Wednesday’s auction will further test the loyalty of left-wing environmentalists and young voters who backed President Joe Biden in 2020 but were frustrated by this month’s approval of the massive Willow drilling project in northern Alaska.

A government analysis of the leases for sale in the public waters of the Gulf of Mexico could ultimately produce more than a billion barrels of oil and more than four trillion cubic feet of natural gas over 50 years. However, the left is expected to cause problems over the analysis, finding that burning the oil could increase carbon dioxide emissions by tens of millions of tons.

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Jacob Bliss is a reporter for Breitbart News. Write to him at or follow him on Twitter @JacobMBliss.