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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

President Biden's decision to halt new oil drilling leases on federal lands will have very minor effects on U.S. production through at least the end of 2022, per the Energy Information Administration's first analysis of the policy change.

Why it matters: The leasing freeze is among the most controversial energy decisions from the nascent administration, drawing strong attacks from Republicans and the oil industry.

The big picture: "No effects will likely occur until 2022 because there is roughly a minimum eight-to-ten month delay from leasing to production in onshore areas and longer in offshore areas," EIA's latest monthly outlook states.

  • The change will reduce production by an average of less than 100,000 barrels per day next year compared to what's expected without the freeze.
  • EIA expects continued recovery from the depths of pandemic. Their latest projections show production rising from an average of 11.1 million bpd in Q2 of this year to 12.41 million bpd in Q4 of 2022.

What we don't know: The long-term effect of the administration's leasing policy on U.S. production.

  • That's partly because the policy itself is in flux. Yesterday Interior announced a "virtual forum" on March 25 as part of its review.
  • It will help inform an interim report slated for completion this summer.
  • EIA data shows that about 22% of U.S. oil production and 12% of natural gas production in 2019 came from federal lands and waters, Bloomberg notes.

Yes, but: It's pretty clear that Biden, who vowed major new restrictions during the campaign, won't revert to prior leasing practices.

  • Interior said in yesterday's announcement that it wants to "put our public lands’ energy programs on a more sound and sustainable conservation, fiscal and climate footing."

Go deeper

1 hour ago - Technology

Scoop: Facebook exec warns of "more bad headlines"

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

In a post to staffers Saturday obtained by Axios, Facebook VP of global affairs Nick Clegg warned the company that worse coverage could be on the way: “We need to steel ourselves for more bad headlines in the coming days, I’m afraid.”

Catch up quick: Roughly two dozen news outlets had agreed to hold stories based on leaked materials from Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen for Monday publication — but the embargo fell apart Friday night as participating newsrooms posted a batch of articles ahead of the weekend.

"Atmospheric river" to whiplash Northern California from drought to flood

A map depicting 24-hour preciptation forecast (inches) ending Monday at 5a.m. local time. Photo: NOAA

A series of powerful "atmospheric river" storms are set dump historic amounts of rainfall across parts of drought-stricken California and the Pacific Northwest from this weekend, forecasters warn.

Why it matters: A strong atmospheric river, packing large amounts of moisture, is predicted to whiplash Northern California from drought to flood.

Inside Biden's Taiwan flubs

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Twice this year, President Biden has blurted out commitments that the U.S. is prepared to defend Taiwan against a Chinese invasion — forcing the White House to walk back his statements and leading to confusion over a high-stakes national security policy.

Why it matters: U.S. defense officials have publicly aired their concerns that China will take Taiwan by force in the next four to six years, perhaps sooner. The president's position on this question may soon have real-world, life and death consequences.