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IPFS News Link • Climate Change

Judge Blocks Sale of Gulf of Mexico Drilling Leases in 'Huge Victory' for Climate Activists

• https://childrenshealthdefense.org, Jake Johnson

A federal judge late Thursday blocked the Biden administration's massive oil and gas lease sale in the Gulf of Mexico, a significant win for environmentalists as they work to prevent the Interior Department from handing public lands and waters over to the fossil fuel industry.

In his 68-page decision, Judge Rudolph Contreras of the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. wrote that the Biden administration violated federal law by not adequately accounting for the emissions impact of the sale, which would have been the biggest offshore oil and gas lease sell-off in the country's history.

Climate groups characterized the sale — held just days after the COP26 summit in Glasgow — as the equivalent of "lighting the fuse of a massive carbon bomb."

"The Department of the Interior acted arbitrarily and capriciously in excluding foreign consumption from their greenhouse gas emissions calculation," Contreras, an Obama appointee, found.

The Biden Interior Department, which now must conduct a fresh environmental review, had relied on an analysis completed under the Trump administration, which was teeming with allies of the fossil fuel industry.

Brettny Hardy, senior attorney for Earthjustice — a group that sued the Biden administration over the lease sale — applauded the judge's decision Thursday and said that "we simply cannot continue to make investments in the fossil fuel industry to the peril of our communities and increasingly warming planet."

"Interior should use its next five-year leasing plan to protect our coastal communities and public waters and offer no new offshore leases," Hardy added. "We can no longer afford to do anything less."

On the campaign trail, President Joe Biden pledged to ban new oil and gas leasing on federal lands and waters, a promise that climate advocates cautiously applauded while demanding more ambitious action.

www.universityofreason.com/a/29887/KWADzukm