But cracks in Mr. Biden’s agenda quickly appeared.
In June, a federal judge in Louisiana sided with Republican attorneys general from 13 states who argued that Mr. Biden lacked the legal authority to pause new oil and gas leases. As gasoline prices surged in the summer and fall, the White House sought to increase oil production, even as Mr. Biden implored world leaders to stop burning fossil fuels.
Just days after the Glasgow climate talks, the administration auctioned off nearly 80 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico, a record for that location, for offshore drilling, despite a campaign promise by Mr. Biden that he would end drilling on federal lands and waters.
White House officials said they were legally compelled to hold the lease sale, which the Interior Department said had the potential to yield 1.12 billion barrels of oil and 4.4 trillion cubic feet of natural gas over the life of the 50-year leases. But environmental groups, joined by several Democratic lawmakers, argue that the administration could have done more to prevent the sale and are suing the administration to stop it.
Most notably, Mr. Biden failed to persuade the single Democratic holdout, Senator Joe Manchin III of West Virginia, to vote for his $1.7 billion Build Back Better bill, placing its future in jeopardy in an evenly split Senate. The House passed the package in November.
In negotiations with the White House, Mr. Manchin insisted that the Biden administration strip out the most muscular part of the bill, a clean electricity program that would have rewarded electric utilities that stopped burning fossil fuels in favor of wind, solar and other clean energy, and penalized those that did not. Mr. Manchin also scuttled a provision that would have prohibited most offshore oil drilling.
The legislation still contains about $555 billion for other climate provisions, including $320 billion in tax incentives for producers and purchasers of wind, solar and nuclear power, inducements intended to speed up a transition away from oil, gas and coal. Analysts say it would help the United States to get at least halfway to Mr. Biden’s climate goals. The future of the legislation remains uncertain, although Senate Democrats said on Tuesday they were determined to see some version of it pass this year.
“Objectively, he over-promised and under-delivered,” said Kevin Book, managing director of ClearView Energy Partners, a Washington-based research firm.
Published on: Article source