Biden administration to resume oil leasing on federal lands

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Leasing of oil and gas on U.S. federal lands will resume later this year, Biden administration sources said, according to court documents cited by Reuters.

The White House said in January it would review existing oil and gas rental regulations to see if there was room to change them. During the review period, new oil and gas leases would be suspended.

The news provoked an immediate and negative reaction from states which derive tens of millions of revenue from oil and gas production royalties. Earlier this year, a group of those states sued the administration and, in June, a federal judge in Louisiana Posted a preliminary injunction which effectively removed the ban.

The trial argued that the ban would result in GDP losses of $ 33.5 billion during President Biden’s first term and an additional $ 8.8 billion in conservation funding.

In July, Republican senators accused the Home Office of dragging its feet to revive oil and gas rentals. Home Secretary Deb Haaland responded by saying the department was weighing its options. Earlier, following the court ruling, the ministry said it would comply.

Administration responded by filing an appeal against the injunction with the Ministry of the Interior, declaring: “The appeal of the preliminary injunction is important and necessary. Together, the federal onshore and offshore oil and gas leasing programs are responsible for significant greenhouse gas emissions and community impacts. “

“Yet current programs do not adequately integrate consideration of climate impacts into rental decisions or do not reflect the social costs of greenhouse gas emissions, including, for example, rates of royalty, ”the department also said earlier this month.

Now, according to a briefing seen by Reuters, the Home Office plans to hold a lease sale in the Gulf of Mexico in October or November. Preparations for the tender are expected to last until the end of this month.

Interior has “spent significant agency resources, including several hundred employee-hours, preparing to organize oil and gas lease sales,” the department said in the brief.

By Charles Kennedy for Oil chauffage

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