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The Bureau of Land Management will begin issuing final environmental assessments and sale notices on Monday for future oil and gas projects and will offer for lease “approximately 173 parcels on roughly 144,000 acres, an 80 percent reduction from the acreage originally nominated,” BLM stated.
The move comes as President Biden faces price hikes in gasoline and soaring inflation, each of which could prove politically catastrophic. Biden had said during the campaign that he wanted to end such leases and put a moratorium on them the first day of his presidency.
The administration sought to emphasize that it was trying to reopen drilling responsibly.
“How we manage our public lands and waters says everything about what we value as a nation,” Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said in a statement. “For too long, the federal oil and gas leasing programs have prioritized the wants of extractive industries above local communities, the natural environment, the impact on our air and water, the needs of Tribal Nations, and, moreover, other uses of our shared public lands.”
The department stated that the Bureau of Land Management “assessed potentially available and eligible acreage” in the states of Alabama, Colorado, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Utah and Wyoming.
This is a developing story.