This week the Department of the Interior grandly announced plans for its March oil and gas lease sale in the Central Gulf of Mexico, off Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. The announcement might have been more fitting for Groundhog Day.

DOI: 38 Million Acres in Gulf of Mexico Up for Grabs

To follow through with President Obama’s all-of-the-above energy strategy to expand domestic energy production, the U.S. Department of the Interior announced that the upcoming Central Gulf of Mexico Lease Sale 227 will offer 38.6 million acres offshore Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama for oil and gas exploration and development. …

“The Obama Administration is fully committed to developing our domestic energy resources to create jobs, foster economic opportunities, and reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil,” said Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar in a released statement. “Exploration and development of the Gulf of Mexico’s vital energy resources will continue to help power our nation and drive our economy.”

Why is this not news?

Lease sales just like this one have occurred nearly every single year since the current area-wide leasing scheme was put in place by President Reagan’s Interior Secretary, James Watt, in 1982. (I say “nearly” because the Obama Administration cancelled regularly-scheduled offshore lease sales in a regulatory overreaction to the BP oil spill in 2010.)

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