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Republican States Want Large Offshore Lease Sale Restored

Fourteen Republican-governed states are asking a court to restore the largest oil and gas lease sale in the Gulf of Mexico that the Biden Administration canceled, Fox News reports.

The 14 states led by Montana and including Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, and West Virginia, filed a brief in the court case regarding the annulment early this year of the lease sale in the Gulf of Mexico.

In January, a  federal judge threw out the biggest oil and gas lease sale in the Gulf of Mexico on the grounds that the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) broke the environmental law—the National Environmental Policy Act—by failing to properly factor in the emission-related impact of the lease sale.

Ruling on a case brought against the Department of the Interior, the American Petroleum Institute, and the state of Louisiana, District Judge Rudolph Contreras sent the lease sale back to the Interior Department to decide what to do with it.  

Plaintiffs in the case include the Sierra Club, Earthjustice, the Center for Biological Diversity, and Friends of the Earth.

“The Biden administration has been working hand in glove with these radical environmentalist groups to shut down American energy development,” Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen told Fox News.

“These groups have made a cottage industry out of weaponizing federal law to cripple responsible domestic energy development, and liberal judges are all too happy to facilitate this green coup,” Knudsen added.  

In May, the Biden Administration canceled two lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico and one in Alaska, citing “conflicting court rulings” for the GoM lease sales.

Last week, the American Petroleum Institute (API) and more than 80 trade groups wrote a letter to President Biden, urging the Administration to implement a new five-year program for federal offshore leasing—the deadline for which is June 30—as soon as possible.

“The failure to develop a 5-Year Program on time, coupled with other restrictive energy policies, is already having a dampening effect on investment in American energy. Companies need a robust leasing program with consistent opportunities to secure new leases to effectively plan, execute, and manage their businesses,” the signatories to the letter wrote.

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“If the door closes to new U.S. production, investment dollars will instead flow abroad to more active basins to the detriment of American workers, energy consumers, and the environment,” they said.

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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