The auction is at odds with Biden's climate agenda -- the President has also promised to slash greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030 -- and environmental advocates say it could set US climate goals back for years.
The administration tried in its first days in office to put a stop to new oil and gas drilling. On January 27, Biden signed an executive order that paused new permits and directed the Department of Interior to launch a "rigorous review" of existing programs related to fossil fuel development.
But a lawsuit filed in March on behalf of 13 states led to a judgment that blocked Biden's pause.
...Brettny Hardy, an attorney with the environmental nonprofit Earthjustice leading a lawsuit against the Interior Department, argued the Biden administration could have filed a more aggressive appeal in court, declined to hold the sale this week or withdrawn some of the areas in the Gulf from leasing.
"The sale is going to lock in [oil and gas] production for years to come," Hardy told CNN. "By that time, we need to be moving away from fossil fuels in order to survive. This lease sale is a really critical juncture and is sending us in the exact opposite direction."...MORE
I'm sure high gas prices and the recent election returns had nothing to do with this.