The Biden administration is resuming leasing of oil and gas on public lands, but severely restricting where it can happen in Colorado

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In the first week of his presidency, President Biden signed an executive order to halt the leasing of oil and gas on state lands and waters to limit climate-warming emissions. But according to a federal judge in Louisiana ordered that sales resumeAdministration is moving forward with its first onshore sales of oil and natural gas well leases on public land.

At the same time, the US Bureau of Land Management is cutting the amount of land available for oil and gas development by 80 percent of the area that companies originally expressed interest in developing for drilling in nine states.

In Colorado, the original request was for 119 parcels for new oil and gas projects covering 141,675 acres. The office said it conducted additional environmental assessments of these parcels, engaged with tribes and communities, and prioritized people’s interests in public lands. That resulted in the bureau approving less than 5 percent of that application — just nine parcels covering 5,275 acres are eligible for Colorado oil and gas sales in June.

The US Department of the Interior called the move a major reform of onshore oil and gas lease sales. In a statement, Home Secretary Deb Haaland said it was a “reset” about “how and what we believe is the highest and best use of Americans’ resources for the benefit of all present and future generations.”

“For too long, federal oil and gas lease programs have put the needs of the extractive industries ahead of local communities, the natural environment, the impact on our air and water, the needs of tribal peoples, and beyond other uses of our community’s public lands ‘ Haaland said.

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