The Biden administration has said that it will resume plans for oil and gas drilling on federal lands and waters after an appeals court ruled to allow the use of an approximately fivefold higher "social cost of carbon" value in evaluating permits, according to reports.
However, it remains unclear whether the Interior Department intends to resume oil and gas leasing auctions in the near future. Also unclear is how much of a near-term effect any new lease sales would have on surging gasoline prices.
Shortly after President Joe Biden took office, the White House raised the "social cost of carbon" (SCC) value to an Obama-era value of roughly $50 per ton from about $10 per ton under the Trump administration.
A number of Republican-led states sued the Biden administration over its raising of the SCC value, with a U.S. District Court judge in Louisiana granting a preliminary injunction that blocked the use of the higher number.
The administration appealed that ruling and, several days ago, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals granted a stay, allowing for the continued use—at least temporarily—of the higher Obama-era values for calculating climate change costs in government decisions.
But even if lease sales resume, it would do little to boost oil production in the near term, according to Jesse Prentice-Dunn, policy director at the Center for Western Priorities, a conservation and advocacy group.
But industry experts say the argument that the oil and gas industry has thousands of unused permits that they could start using immediately ignores the lengthy process required for drilling to actually begin on those permits.
“New production takes time," Gross told Factcheck. "For in-fill shale oil or gas wells in areas that are already being developed, you might get some new drilling and production in a matter of months. Any new leases would take years to produce.
"This won’t be quick.”