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Appeals court orders sale of Gulf oil, gas leases to proceed over environmentalists' objections

During oral arguments Monday, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had questioned if the environmental groups had demonstrated they would be harmed as a result of the lower court’s decision.

Published: November 15, 2023 11:44am

Updated: November 15, 2023 11:51am

A federal appeals court Tuesday ​​​​ordered the federal sale of oil and gas leases in the Gulf of Mexico to be held within 37 days, rejecting environmentalists' arguments the project endangering a rare whale species.

The Center for Biological Diversity, Sierra Club and others had hoped to block 6 million acres from being offered in Lease Sale 261 over concerns it could further endanger the mammal.

A lower court had issued an injunction against excluding the acreage from the sale.

During oral arguments Monday, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had questioned if the environmental groups had demonstrated the whales would be harmed as a result of the lower court’s decision.

Tuesday’s decision requires that all 73 million acres, which includes the contested 6 million, be offered in the lease, according to the Associated Press.