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The U.S. federal government will hold oil and gas lease sales in at least eight states in June after a court overturned President Biden's moratorium on oil and gas drilling on federal lands.
The states include Utah, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Colorado, Oklahoma, and Wyoming. The BLM is also inviting protests against the leases, to be submitted within the 30 days to May 18 by email.
In Utah, the Bureau of Land Management is offering one parcel of 160 acres. In New Mexico, the parcels on offer will be six, with a total area of 535.72 acres. In Montana and North Dakota, the BLM is offering 23 parcels, spanning close to 3,406 acres.
In Nevada, the BLM is offering five parcels with a total area of 2,560 acres, and in Colorado, it is leasing nine parcels with an area of 5,276 acres. In Wyoming, the BLN is offering the most acreage, at 131,771 acres across 129 parcels.
The BLM noted in its releases that it was offering the parcels while the federal government appeals the ruling of the Louisiana court that canceled President Biden's moratorium on federal land oil and gas drilling.
The Department of the Interior said earlier this week that it would restart oil and gas leases on federal lands, to offer a total 144,000 acres this week. The DOI, however, announced changes in the terms of the leases, including a higher royalty rate of 18.75 percent, more stringent environmental assessment conditions, and significantly smaller acreage than previously available.
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"We need to move towards a more clean energy economy," White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told media this week in response to questions on whether the restart of oil and gas lease sales did not go against the Biden administration's energy transition agenda. "There are 9,000 permits unused on lands that could be tapped into by oil companies, and we don't feel they are needed in terms of how long it will take to get up drilling because of the court action."
"Obviously, we're going to continue to fight this legal action," Psaki also said, as quoted by the Washington Examiner. "The president remains committed. Addressing the climate crisis is one of the four pillars that he came in — he ran on as president, and he will continue to fight for one of the reasons that this was so troubling to him."
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com