Judge rules against Biden administration over scaled-back Gulf of Mexico oil and gas lease sales

FILE - A rig and supply vessel are pictured in the Gulf of Mexico off the cost of Louisiana, April 10, 2011. A federal judge has ordered the Interior Department to expand next week’s scheduled sale of Gulf of Mexico oil and gas leases by millions of acres. The Thursday, Sept. 22, 2023, ruling rejected a scaled-back plan announced last month by the Biden administration as part of an effort to protect an endangered whale species. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)


The Biden administration’s plan to scale back by millions of acres of the number of oil and gas leases in the Gulf of Mexico was stopped in its tracks by a federal judge who ordered the Interior Department to expand the sales.

The cut-back in acres was designed, according to the government announcement made in August, to protect an endangered shale species. U.S.  District Judge James David Cain Jr. in Lake Charles, Louisiana ruled last week for an expansion of the sales. His ruling came after the Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management reduced the original planned sale of 73 million acres of offshore tracts to 67 million acres.

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