Federal judge blocks Biden’s ban on leases for drilling on public lands

In a setback for President Joe Biden’s efforts on climate change, a federal judge in Louisiana on Tuesday blocked the administration’s temporary ban on new leases to drill for oil and gas on public lands and ordered that lease sales continue.

The Interior Department said it would “comply with the decision,” signaling that lease sales to drill in Alaska and in the Gulf of Mexico will likely resume — at least for now.

During Biden’s first days in office, his Interior Department paused new leases while reviewing the program to decide whether extracting oil and gas from federal lands and waters should continue in the future, as the president seeks to wean the U.S. off fossil fuels. The Interior Department has held a public forum on the issue and said that an interim report on the future of the program would be coming over the summer.

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