December 10, 2020

U.S. nets $46,000 on Trump’s California oil, gas drilling auction

U.S. nets $46,000 on Trump’s California oil, gas drilling auction

By Nichola Groom | Reuters

U.S. taxpayers netted less than $50,000 on Thursday in bids for oil and gas leases in California as the Trump administration held the first federal drilling auction since 2012 in the Democratic and environmentally minded state.

The auction for drilling rights on seven parcels covering 4,100 acres generated $46,148.64, according to results on the auction site EnergyNet.

The average price per acre was $11, far below the nearly $330-an-acre average price federal lease sales have generated
throughout the Trump administration, according to data compiled by green group Center for Western Priorities.

Leasing is a key part of President Donald Trump’s agenda to increase fossil fuel development, but many sale results have
been lackluster this year as the coronavirus pandemic has slammed energy demand and prices.

The parcels sold on Thursday in California’s Kern County, home to most of the state’s drilling activity, had been previously leased, according to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, which oversaw the sale.

The auction in the waning days of Trump’s administration represents yet another clash between his pro-fossil fuel agenda
and the Golden State’s efforts to combat climate change.

Throughout his four-year term, the battle has been waged on issues ranging from auto emissions to curbs on pollution from
the power sector.

President-elect Joe Biden, a Democrat who will succeed Trump on Jan. 20, has pledged to halt new oil and gas leasing on
federal lands and waters as part of a sweeping plan to fight global warming.

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