U.S. appeals court blocks Gulf of Mexico oil and gas sale expansion, pending appeal


A U.S. appeals court last week temporarily paused a federal judge’s order last month that had required the Biden administration to expand a planned offshore oil and gas auction in the Gulf of Mexico by 6 million acres, Reuters reports.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit stayed the September decision pending an appeal, according to a court document. Oral arguments are scheduled for Nov. 13 in New Orleans.

The order was the latest in a legal fight over offshore drilling and federal protection of an endangered species of whale. The oil and gas industry and the state of Louisiana sued the Interior Department in August over its decision to scale back an auction to reduce conflicts with the Rice’s whale habitat.

The dispute reflects the difficulty for Biden’s White House of seeking to balance national energy security with environmental concerns. Read more.