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Biden administration cancels 3 major offshore oil lease sales in Gulf of Mexico and Alaska

The Interior Department announced Wednesday it won't proceed with plans for three oil and gas lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska's Cook Inlet.

Why it matters: The move that all but ends the likelihood of the U.S. government selling new drilling leases in coastal waters in 2022 comes as gas prices hit all-time highs and after President Biden spoke of supplying European nations with fuel to ease dependence on Russian energy following the invasion of Ukraine, per the Washington Post.


  • It's another win for environmental groups after a federal judge last January canceled the Biden administration's late 2021 sale of new oil-and-gas drilling leases in the Gulf of Mexico. That's due to expire in June, WashPost notes.

Driving the news: The Interior Department said in an emailed statement that due to "lack of industry interest in leasing in the area," it "will not move forward with the proposed Cook Inlet OCS oil and gas lease sale 258."

  • "The Department also will not move forward with lease sales 259 and 261 in the Gulf of Mexico region, as a result of delays due to factors including conflicting court rulings that impacted work on these proposed lease sales," the statement added.

Between the lines: The Russian military assault on Ukraine is forcing Biden, a president who wants to hasten the transition away from fossil fuels in order to curb global warming, toward embracing more oil production and natural gas exports, Axios' Ben Geman writes.

What they're saying: Drew Caputo, vice president of litigation for lands, wildlife and oceans for the environmental advocacy group Earthjustice, told CBS News the announcement was "good for the climate, which can't handle new oil and gas development."

Meanwhile, Frank Macchiarola, senior vice president of policy, economics and regulatory affairs at the American Petroleum Institute, said in an emailed statement: "Unfortunately, this is becoming a pattern — the administration talks about the need for more supply and acts to restrict it.

  • "As geopolitical volatility and global energy prices continue to rise, we again urge the administration to end the uncertainty and immediately act on a new five-year program for federal offshore leasing."
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Dive Deeper:
Biden administration cancels 3 offshore oil lease sales
New York (AFP) - The Biden administration has scotched plans to hold three offshore oil and gas lease sales in…
Biden just canceled plans to open up massive new oil drilling operations
A small win for the environment.
Biden Administration Drops Offshore Drilling Auctions: WSJ
The Biden administration has canceled plans to auction drilling rights in two regions in the Gulf of Mexico and one…
Biden's battling one energy price nightmare. Here comes another.
Natural gas prices have tripled since January, adding more fuel to the inflation plaguing the White House's popularity.
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
US fracking boom could tip world to edge of climate disaster
140bn metric tons of planet-heating gases could be unleashed if fossil fuel extraction plans get green light, analysis shows
‘Look at their agenda’: Biden hits out at GOP as he touts plans to tackle inflation
‘I happen to think it's a good thing when American families have a little more money in their pockets at…
Get all your news in one place