Biden offshore drilling proposal would allow up to 11 sales

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — President Joe Biden's administration on Friday proposed up to 10 oil and gas lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico and one off the Alaska coast over the next five years — going against the Democrat's but scaling back a Trump-era plan that called for dozens of offshore drilling opportunities including in undeveloped areas.

Administration officials said fewer than 11 lease sales — or even no lease sales at all — could occur, with a final decision not due for months. New drilling off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts would be blocked, after being considered under Trump.

The proposal brought backlash from both environmentalists — who accused Biden of betraying the climate cause — and oil industry officials and allies, who said it would do little to help counter high energy prices. Gasoline prices averaged $4.84 a gallon on Friday, a strain on commuters and a political albatross for Biden’s fellow Democrats going into the midterm elections. That has left the White House scrambling for solutions, including Biden's call last week for suspension of the 18.4 cents a gallon federal gas tax.