US cancels three offshore oil and gas drilling auctions

May 11 (Reuters) – The Biden administration said on Wednesday it would drop three planned sales of offshore oil and gas leases in Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico.

In a statement, the Department of the Interior said it was not moving forward with an auction for drilling rights in the Cook Inlet off Alaska “due to lack of industry interest in leasing in the region”.

He also said two sales in the Gulf of Mexico would be canceled due to “conflicting court rulings.”

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The three sales were the last to take place under a five-year lease plan in federal waters on the outer continental shelf. This plan expires in June and the administration has not finalized a new program.

President Joe Biden suspended drilling auctions shortly after taking office pending an analysis of their environmental impacts and value to taxpayers. Last June, a federal judge in Louisiana ordered the auction to resume.

The Interior Department then staged a sale of oil and gas leases in the Gulf of Mexico in November, but a court order later quashed that auction, saying the administration failed to properly take take into account its impact on climate change.

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Reporting by Nichola Groom; Editing by Bradley Perrett

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