US District Judge Rudolph Contreras has rejected a plan to lease 80m acres in the Gulf of Mexico for offshore oil drilling. The plan had itself been court-ordered in June 2021 by a US District Judge in Louisiana, after President Biden’s executive order pausing new oil and gas leases on federal lands and offshore waters was challenged by 13 states. A coalition of environmental groups followed up by suing the Biden administration to stop the sale.
Contreras said in the ruling that the Interior Department did not fully consider the climate impacts of the leases. The Interior Department is now required to complete a more comprehensive review of the environmental impacts of drilling, then decide if the sale should go ahead or be cancelled.
The ruling puts a stop to the leases already sold on 1.7m acres.