Thursday, January 27, 2022

Federal Judge Cancel Oil And Gas Leases In Gulf Of Mexico Citing Climate Crisis

A Federal Judge, on Thursday, Invalidated a massive Oil and Gas Lease, for 80 million acres, in the Gulf of Mexico, after a Coalition of Environmental groups sSed the Biden Administration to stop it.

Rudolph Contreras, a U.S. District Court Judge for the District of Columbia, ruled that the Lease Sale was Invalid because the Department of Interior's Analysis did Not fully take into account the Climate Impacts of the Leases.

The Biden Administration had Proceeded with the Lease Sale, in November, 2021, after a Trump-appointed Judge Blocked the Administration's Temporary Moratorium of New Oil and Gas Lease Sales.

At the time, Administration Officials openly admitted, the Sale was at odds with its Climate Goals, and said its hands were tied.

Interior Department Spokesperson, Melissa Schwartz, said that the Department was Reviewing the Decision.

Contreras' Ruling vacated the Leases and noted that although the Biden Administration already Auctioned off the Waters, None of the Sales were effective yet, according to the Government. Therefore, Contreras wrote in his Opinion, the Bureau of Ocean Management doesn't need to Undo Leases, it just must Not execute them.

A Coalition of Environmental Groups, including: the Center for Biological Diversity, Healthy Gulf, and Friends of the Earth, Sued the Biden Administration to Stop the Lease Sale. Environmental Law firm, Earthjustice, represented the coalition.

"We are pleased that the court invalidated Interior's illegal lease sale," Earthjustice Senior Attorney, Brettny Hardy, said in a Statement. "We simply cannot continue to make investments in the fossil fuel industry to the peril of our communities and increasingly warming planet."

Contreras' Decision found the Biden Administration was using Outdated Modeling when Assessing the Climate-Warming Impact of the Lease sale.

"That's central to the court's decision," Hardy said. "Essentially, what the court determined is that the Interior Department was relying on totally flawed greenhouse gas emissions modeling, so they substantially underestimated the greenhouse gas impacts that would result from development on these leases that had sold."

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