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U.S. Government Reduces Gulf Of Mexico Oil And Gas Lease To Save Whale Habitat

The federal government has reduced the area to be offered in the next Gulf of Mexico oil and gas lease sale by 9% to safeguard the habitat of a rare whale species.

The adjustment, which will see the Interior Department auction 67 million acres instead of 73.4 million acres, followed a legal settlement with environmentalists regarding the whale habitat, Bloomberg reports.

The American Petroleum Institute was not happy with this and other changes.

“While the Department of the Interior announced a much-needed offshore lease sale today, the Biden administration continues to throw up roadblock after roadblock to American energy production, prioritizing their campaign promise to stop American oil and natural gas development in federal waters over their duty to meet Americans’ energy needs,” the industry body said in a statement.

“With this announcement, the administration is removing more than 10 million acres of the Gulf of Mexico and adding new and unjustified restrictions on oil and gas vessels operating in this area, amounting to a lease sale in name only,” the API continued.

“These restrictions are not supported by the record and target the men and women of the oil and natural gas industry operating in this region, ignoring all other vessel traffic,” the industry body also said.

The API was not the only unhappy party, however. The National Ocean Industry Association also had something to say about the latest lease sale.

“The Gulf of Mexico is a long-standing and vital source of reliable, affordable, and environmentally responsible energy that is crucial to the wellbeing of our nation,” the NOIA said, as quoted by Offshore Engineer.

“The removal of nearly 11 million acres and the application of needless restrictive measures, included as part of the Stipulated Stay agreement, poses a real barrier to America’s energy production capabilities, at a time when they’re needed more than ever, with inflation driving up the costs of everything for Americans including gasoline at the pump.”

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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