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Our Views: Joe Biden forced to back down to federal court, economic reality in Gulf oil leasing

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While they’ve been dragged kicking into doing something so positive for the U.S. and Louisiana economy, officials of the Biden administration are resuming sales on leases for future oil and gas production in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Department of the Interior sale Tuesday marks a resumption of the longtime sales, in which companies bid for rights to explore for oil and gas in millions of acres of Gulf waters. Winning bidders will be announced Wednesday.

This is a welcome respite from one of new President Joe Biden’s most knee-jerk responses to a worldwide climate crisis: Stopping lease sales for future production of fossil fuels does not change the world economy’s need for energy.

Just look at the big numbers atop gas stations to understand that.

The lease sale also marks a win for one of Biden’s most persistent critics, Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry, who sued in federal court. A judge in Monroe, appointed by former President Donald Trump, overturned the ban.

Biden said the lease sales were to be stopped only temporarily. We took that to mean that they were looking for evidence to make a ban, or long-term slowdown, permanent.

We believe that any fair analysis of the energy markets will yield conclusions that the Biden administration experts already knew. As Jim Fitterling, chairman of Dow, told a Baton Rouge audience Thursday, the changing energy future of the world — a transition that is needed and significant — will still include oil and gas production and petrochemical manufacturing as far as the eye can see.

Anything else, like throwing over lease sales? Political gestures. Those backfired, although today’s lease sales don’t directly influence today’s prices at the gas pumps.

But with gasoline prices so high, Biden’s ban on leases was a politically unwise gesture.

Our Views: Biden’s foolish energy policies crimp U.S. producers while encouraging OPEC