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Gulf Of Mexico Oil And Gas Auction Postponed Due To Litigation

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3 November, 2023

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According to a News Report by the Reuters’ legal section, the administration of the United States under President Biden has taken a new step. On Thursday, the administration decided to postpone a drilling rights sale. This sale was supposed to take place on Nov 8. It gives drilling rights to carry out offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.

Now, it is being halted until the court delivers judgment on an ongoing lawsuit. This lawsuit deals with the development of oil and gas and the federal protection of certain whale species. This species is currently endangered. 

This decision came in response to a temporary halt that a U.S. appeals court imposed on the 26th of October. The court order had initially required the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) to take certain action. The BOEM is a part of the Interior Department. The court order asked it to broaden an auction that was originally supposed to take place in September. A hearing for verbal arguments is scheduled to take place on November 13 in New Orleans.

The BOEM, in response, has stated that until the court delivers the final ruling, they cannot proceed. This is because they cannot be certain about the specific areas or conditions to include in the sale notice.

This situation arose due to a legal dispute that had its initiation in the month of August. Back then, the oil and gas industry and the Louisiana state filed a lawsuit against the Interior Department. They contested the department’s decision to reduce the auction’s scope. This lawsuit was aimed at minimizing the conflicts with the habitat of Rice’s whales.

The American Petroleum Institute is a trade group that represents the oil industry. The API and a plaintiff in this lawsuit have expressed their dissatisfaction with the postponement.

Holly Hopkins is the vice president of API’s upstream policy. She has criticized the Department of the Interior for not considering the need to expand American energy production. 

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Nilanjana is a lawyer with a flair for writing. She has a certification in American Laws from Penn Law (Pennsylvania University). Along with this, she has been known to write legal articles that allow the audience to know about American laws and regulations at ease.

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