Oct. 22 (Reuters) – The Biden administration on Friday took procedural steps to hold an auction for oil and gas rights to drill in Cook Inlet off the coast of Alaska. next year.
The move is the latest effort by the US Department of the Interior to comply with a court order to resume sales of oil and gas concessions that President Joe Biden halted shortly after taking office in January.
The Home Office’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management said it will initiate a 45-day public comment period for the draft environmental scan of the proposed sale. The comments will help the agency decide whether or not to hold the lease sale, he said.
Biden suspended drilling auctions in January pending an analysis of their environmental impacts and value to taxpayers. In June, however, a federal judge in Louisiana ordered the auction to resume, saying the government was required by law to offer land to the oil and gas industry, citing the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act.
The administration will hold a lease sale for drilling rights in the Gulf of Mexico next month.
The Cook Inlet sale could include 224 blocks covering more than one million acres in federal waters in the northern part of the inlet, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management said in a statement.
The draft environmental document estimates that the activities resulting from the sale will emit 88.3 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent over their three-decade life cycle, the equivalent of one year of carbon dioxide emissions. carbon from 22 coal-fired power plants.
The analysis also predicts slightly higher energy prices if the sale does not take place.
Reporting by Nichola Groom in Los Angeles, edited by Rosalba O’Brien
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