A US federal judge has rejected plans to lease thousands of acres of the Gulf of Mexico to the offshore drilling industry.
US District Court Judge Rudolph Contreras has made a ruling rejecting the lease of oil drilling in millions of acres of the sea in the Gulf of Mexico.
The reasoning for the rejection was that the Biden administration had failed to conduct a proper environmental review before auctioning off the land.
The judgment affects 308 tracts of land that add up to almost 2,700 square miles/6,950 square kilometers. In the decision, the court has left it up to the Department of Interior whether to relaunch the auction after conducting a proper environmental review, scraping the sale, or take any other steps it may deem appropriate.
A host of environmental groups brought the action challenging the sale. Brettny Hardy, a senior attorney for Earthjustice, commented on the judgment, saying:
“We are pleased that the court invalidated Interior’s illegal lease sale. This administration must meet this critical moment and honor the campaign promises President Biden made by stopping offshore leasing once and for all. We simply cannot continue to make investments in the fossil fuel industry to the peril of our communities and increasingly warming planet.”