The Biden administration has canceled one of the most high-profile oil and gas lease opportunities pending before the Interior Department. The decision, which halts the potential to drill for oil in over 1 million acres in the Cook Inlet in Alaska, comes at a challenging political moment, when gas prices are hitting painful new highs.
In a statement shared first with CBS News, the Department of the Interior cited a “lack of industry interest in leasing in the area” for the decision to “not move forward” with the Cook Inlet lease sale. The department also halted two leases under consideration for the Gulf of Mexico region because of “conflicting court rulings that impacted work on these proposed lease sales.”
Federal law requires the Department of the Interior to stick to a five-year leasing plan for auctioning offshore leases. The administration had until the end of the current five-year plan—set to expire at the end of next month—to complete these lease sales.