A federal judge stopped the Interior Department from selling 80 million offshore acres in the Gulf of Mexico for oil and gas development, saying the Biden administration failed to properly account for the climate change impacts that would result from the sale. The decision cast uncertainty over the future of the U.S. federal offshore drilling program. The program has been a big moneymaker for decades.
The program has also been acknowledged by the Biden administration to be at odds with its climate goals. The sale would have netted the U.S. government more than $190 million. The sale drew bids from U.S. oil majors, including Exxon and Chevron. The court’s decision came after Earthjustice challenged the sale along with four other environmental groups. They argued the Interior Department relied on an outdated environmental analysis that did not accurately consider climate impacts. Scott Lauermann, a spokesperson for the American Petroleum Institute, told CNN that the decision was ‘disappointing.’ (CNN, NPR, ABC News, New York Times $, Wall Street Journal $, Washington Post $, The Week, Daily Beast, Axios)