Judge halts Biden's drilling leases in Gulf of Mexico over climate concerns
A federal judge canceled Biden's scheduled 2021 sale of new oil-and-gas drilling leases.
The Biden administration's sale of new oil and gas drilling leases in the Gulf of Mexico in late 2021 was halted by a federal US judge.
Environment groups challenged Biden's sale amid their concern over fossil fuel production. Various groups have expressed dissatisfaction with Biden's government. Despite promising environmental-friendly policies to combat climate change, the US President's decisions have mostly been against the interests of the environment.
The ruling details that the Interior Department's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management's (BOEM) greenhouse gas emissions study was insufficient.
After ruling that the government "Acted arbitrarily and capriciously in excluding foreign consumption from their greenhouse gas emissions, US District judge Rudolph Contreas in D.C. ordered the sale be reviewed further by the Interior Department.
"Barreling full-steam ahead with blinders on was simply not a reasonable action for BOEM to have taken here," according to Contreas.
The Biden administration had previously attempted to freeze new lease sales on federal lands and waters, but a Louisiana federal court last year rejected the policy.
In an emailed response on Thursday night, an Interior Department spokesperson said the department was studying Contreras' judgment "concerning deficiencies in that record" on the Lease Sale 257 project.
"As the Department has stated previously, to comply with the injunction imposed in the District Court of Louisiana litigation we were compelled to proceed with Lease Sale 257 based on the previous administration's environmental analysis and its decision to approve the lease sale," the spokesperson added, citing Biden's executive order to safeguard public lands and rivers from new oil and gas leases.
Earthjustice, which represented other environmental groups in the case, hailed the decision as a "pivotal victory in the fight to defend Gulf communities and the planet from the worsening climate crisis."
According to the organization, the Interior Department "must start with a blank slate and consider the full environmental costs associated with auctioning off our public waters to the fossil fuel industry."
American Petroleum Institute representative Scott Lauermann emailed a comment where he stated that the business was "reviewing this disappointing decision" and examining its alternatives, adding that offshore energy development plays a "critical role in strengthening our nation's economy and energy security."