Biden under fire over plans to auction off huge Gulf of Mexico chunk for oil drilling
Washington DC - Reports of plans to auction off a huge chunk of the Gulf of Mexico for oil drilling purposes have been slammed as yet another Biden administration failure to address the global climate emergency.
The 73.3-million-acre area, which is around the size of Italy, is being auctioned by the US Department of the Interior Wednesday morning in order to expand fossil fuel extraction, per the Guardian.
The drilling projects to take place in the Gulf are expected to last decades.
The latest auction could result in the extraction of 1 billion barrels of oil and 4.4 trillion cubic feet of gas over the next 50 years, according to the US government.
Climate experts have long sounded the alarm over the dangers of the fossil fuel industry and urged politicians to push for a swift clean energy transition.
Biden slammed for violating 2020 campaign promise on drilling
While on the 2020 campaign trail, President Joe Biden promised to halt all oil drilling on federal lands and waters as part of his plan to address the climate crisis.
Nevertheless, the president has already approved ConocoPhillips' Willow oil-drilling project on Alaska's North Slope, which is projected to extract around 600 billion barrels of oil over 30 years, in spite of Indigenous opposition.
Biden's signature Inflation Reduction Act, which the president described as the "biggest step forward on climate ever," calls for billions to invest in renewable energy projects and electric car subsidies, but it also sets aside large swathes of the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska for further fossil fuel extraction.
Even so, Earthjustice attorney George Torgun told the Guardian "there was no legal reason to offer almost the entire Gulf of Mexico to the oil and gas industry."
The approval of new investments in drilling comes despite dire warnings from scientific experts. As the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change stated in its latest report, "There is a rapidly closing window of opportunity to secure a liveable and sustainable future for all."
Cover photo: TOM PENNINGTON / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP