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US - Temporary Ban On New Federal Oil And Gas Leases Under Fire

On January 27, 2021, President Biden signed Executive Order 14008 ("E.O. 14008"), implementing a temporary pause on the auction of new oil and gas leases on federal land and water while the President's administration reviews the program.

First Quarter of Biden Presidency Impactful for Energy Industry

On January 27, 2021, President Biden signed Executive Order 14008 ("E.O. 14008"), implementing a temporary pause on the auction of new oil and gas leases on federal land and water while the President's administration reviews the program. The review will consider potential climate and other impacts of current federal oil and gas permitting/leasing practices and whether to take action to account for corresponding climate costs. E.O. 14008 will not affect existing leases or drilling permits for valid, existing leases. In addition, E.O. 14008 will not restrict energy activities on private or state lands.

The Bureau of Land Management ("BLM") and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management ("BOEM") promptly took action to implement E.O. 14008. On February 4, 2021, BOEM cancelled a public comment period for the Draft Environmental Impact Statement being prepared for the proposed lease sale of acreage in Cook Inlet, Alaska ("Proposed Lease Sale 258"). On February 18, 2021, BOEM rescinded the planned lease sale of acreage within the Gulf of Mexico ("Lease Sale 257"), which was scheduled to take place on March 17, 2021.

In addition, BLM issued several notices during January, February, and March, postponing first quarter lease sales previously scheduled to be held during March and April for federal lands located in Colorado, North Dakota, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Utah, as well as states located east of the Mississippi River. BLM also issued notice during April that no second quarter lease sale will be held for certain states (collectively, "Postponed Sales").

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