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Biden Calls off Oil and Gas Leases in Alaska and Gulf of Mexico — But Not for the Climate

The Department of the Interior will not hold sales of oil and gas leases for millions of acres off the coast of Alaska and in the Gulf of Mexico, the agency confirmed on Wednesday. That’s good news for the climate, but experts warn that the U.S. is still not doing nearly enough to limit new oil and gas production to keep warming below catastrophic levels.

The department dropped its plan to lease about a million acres in Cook Inlet in Alaska due to a “lack of industry interest,” Interior spokesperson Melissa Schwartz said in an email to the Washington Post. Two more lease sales planned for the Gulf of Mexico will also be canceled, she added, due to a lack of time and legal issues.

The federal government’s current offshore development plan expires at the end of June. Once it lapses, the Department of the Interior cannot issue any new offshore leases until a new plan is in place.