WASHINGTON (AP) — Both Republican and Democratic senators pressed Interior Secretary Deb Haaland for answers Wednesday after a federal court blocked the Biden administration’s suspension of new oil and gas leases on federal lands and waters.
In a sharply worded ruling Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Terry Doughty in Louisiana ordered that plans for lease sales continue in the Gulf of Mexico, off the coast of Alaska and in “all eligible onshore properties” nationwide. The ruling came after President Joe Biden shut down oil and gas lease sales from the nation’s vast public lands and waters in his first days in office, citing worries about climate change.
“It’s a fresh decision. Our department is reviewing the judge’s opinion as we speak and consulting with the Justice Department,” Haaland said under questioning at a Senate hearing on her department’s budget.
“We will respect the judge’s decision. Any other information will be forthcoming,”