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Biden Administration Sued Over Pending Sale of Oil, Gas Leases

Sept. 1, 2021, 2:17 AM

Environmental groups sued the Biden Administration in an attempt to halt the pending sale of offshore oil and gas leases on more than 80 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico, that they said will magnify greenhouse emissions worldwide.

U.S. President Joe Biden had suspended the sale of new oil and gas permits after taking office in January. But a federal judge in Louisiana ordered the sales restarted two months ago. In response, the Interior Department on Tuesday posted at least 750,000 acres in nine states for possible inclusion in oil and gas lease sales.

The full lease sale would lead to the “production of up to 1.12 billion barrels and 4.4 trillion cubic feet of fossil fuels over the next 50 years,” the environmental groups said in the lawsuit. “The lease sale will thus contribute substantially to greenhouse gas pollution that, if not curbed, will exacerbate the climate crisis and burdens on communities in the Gulf of Mexico, which are already suffering from climate warming impacts like rising seas and worsening storms.”

An analysis of the lease sales, conducted by the Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, “substantially underestimates” the harm the lease permits would cause, the environmental groups said. “The bureau did not rationally evaluate the impacts of greenhouse gas emissions that will result from the sale.”

The suit was filed by Friends of the Earth, the Healthy Gulf, the Sierra Club and the Center for Biological Diversity.

The suit is Friends of the Earth v. Haaland, 21-cv-02317, in U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington).

To contact the reporter on this story:
Robert Burnson in San Francisco at rburnson@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Tina Davis at tinadavis@bloomberg.net

Joe Schneider

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