NEW ORLEANS (AP) — President Joe Biden’s administration says it has followed a court order to schedule an offshore oil and gas lease sale for the Gulf of Mexico after the Democratic president’s moratorium on new oil and gas leasing on federal lands was blocked by a judge.
The sale will be livestreamed from New Orleans on Nov. 17, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management announced in a news release Thursday. Bidding will be only by mail; walk-in bids won’t be accepted, it said.
The agency postponed lease sales scheduled in March to comply with Biden’s executive order to combat climate change. Scientists urge immediate action to slash greenhouse emissions to avoid the worst consequences of global warming, including devastating storms, floods, wildfires and droughts.
But Louisiana and 12 other states sued, and in June a federal judge found that the government had omitted steps required for such actions. The administration said in August it would comply while appealing the judge’s order.
“The Biden Harris Administration is continuing its comprehensive review of the deficiencies associated with its offshore and onshore oil and gas leasing programs,” the bureau’s statement said.
The sale will cover roughly 136,000 square miles (352,000 square kilometers) located from 3 to 231 miles (5 to 370 kilometers) offshore in the Gulf of Mexico with water depths ranging from 9 to more than 11,115 feet (3 to 3,400 meters).
Less than 2% of available water bottom was leased in August 2020.
The agency said lease stipulations will protect biologically sensitive resources, mitigate potential adverse effects on protected species, and avoid potential conflicts between oil and gas development and other activities and users in the Gulf of Mexico.
Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah and West Virginia joined Louisiana in challenging the lease sale suspension.
The Associated Press