President Biden's top aides are weighing whether to ban new oil and gas drilling off America's coasts, a move that would elate climate activists but could leave the administration vulnerable to Republican accusations that it is worsening an energy crunch.

Every five years, the Department of Interior must release a plan for new oil and gas leases. The draft of the Biden plan will be available by June 30.

Two administration officials said that the White House is crafting a plan to deal with high prices at the pump and inflation.

The officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the deliberations, said that the president's inner circle was closely involved in the discussion about drilling.

Sara Rollet Gosman is a professor of environment and energy law at the University of Arkansas. It's in the best interest of the climate if the Department of the Interior eliminates offshore lease sales or only offers a few sales. Fossil fuel companies can argue that the president doesn't care about high gas prices.

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Several people familiar with the administration's decision-making said it is likely to block new drilling in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans in the face of widespread bipartisan opposition. Since 1995, the eastern Gulf of Mexico has been off limits to drilling.

Lease sales in the western and central Gulf of Mexico are still being considered.

Mr. Biden promised to stop new drilling on public lands. There is no place for offshore drilling in a clean energy future, according to environmental activists. They want the administration to stop drilling on the outer continental shelf.

Diane Hoskins, a campaign director at Oceana, said that they expect the president to keep his campaign promise to end new leasing.

In order to hold global warming to an average of 1.5 degrees Celsius, nations must stop approving new coal mines and oil and gas fields. That is the point at which the likelihood increases of catastrophic heat waves, droughts, flooding and extinctions. Since the Industrial Revolution, Earth has warmed an average of 1.1 degrees.

Tré Easton, a Democratic strategist, said that if Mr. Biden issues new drilling leases, he risks alienating climate-minded voters.

He said that extending new lease will have no bearing on energy prices in this country. I hope the White House understands that it is a distraction.

The areas that are available for lease under the plan would be auctioned. It can take a long time between a lease sale and offshore drilling.

The fossil fuel industry and Republicans are blaming the Biden administration for slowing fossil fuel production.

ImagePort Fourchon, La., a land base for much of the offshore oil production in the United States.
Port Fourchon, La., a land base for much of the offshore oil production in the United States. Credit...Chris Carmichael for The New York Times
Port Fourchon, La., a land base for much of the offshore oil production in the United States.

On Wednesday, Mr. Biden called on Congress to stop the gas tax. The administration has released strategic petroleum reserve s, suspended a ban on summer sales of higher-ethanol gasoline blends, and urged American oil producers to ramp up production.

The administration is attempting to have it both ways, according to Republicans.

The administration can't pretend to support oil and gas production while doing everything in their power to slow down and block expanded production on public land, according to Senator John Barrasso.

The draft five-year plan for the National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program is expected to include several options, one of which is not offering any new lease sales.

A spokeswoman for the Interior Department said no decisions have been made.

The five year plan is being developed. I don't have an update on timing.

Three people who were briefed on the matter said that the Biden administration considered limiting new drilling to the central and western Gulf of Mexico.

It would be bad for consumers, according to the president of the National Ocean Industries Association. An additional 2.4 million barrels of crude a day can have a global impact on the marketplace.

The lease sales were canceled due to a lack of industry interest.

The Cook Inlet basin is now mostly a source of natural gas for local utilities and large-scale projects have been rare recently. The industry wants the waters in the northern part of the planet to be available in the future.

ImageInterior Secretary Deb Haaland testifying before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee last month.
Interior Secretary Deb Haaland testifying before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee last month.Credit...Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images
Interior Secretary Deb Haaland testifying before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee last month.

The five year plan will be subject to public comment before it is finalized. The plan has been used by past presidents to open the door to development or shut it down.

The Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act of1953 was invoked by President Obama to ban drilling along the Atlantic coastline.

The areas protected by the Obama administration were open to oil and gas drilling.

By the end of his administration, Mr. Trump signed an executive order prohibiting drilling for 10 years off the coast of Florida and four other states.

The plan was never finalized. According to Ms. Haaland, the Trump administration stopped work on a five-year plan in the middle of last year.

A debate has arisen over the administration's oil and gas decisions. A successful legal challenge from Republican states and the oil industry has forced the administration to hold new lease sales.

The administration is appealing It is defending itself in a Republican-led lawsuit that seeks to prevent the government from considering the economic cost of climate change that comes from drilling and other actions it permits.