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Oil industry, green groups challenge Biden offshore drilling plan


U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 8, 2024. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

(Reuters) -Oil and gas companies and environmental groups on Monday filed dueling legal challenges to the Biden administration’s five-year plan to offer drilling leases in the Gulf of Mexico.

The petitions to a U.S. appeals court come four months after the Interior Department unveiled a congressionally-mandated plan for offshore leasing that included just three sales, the lowest since the government began publishing the schedules in 1980.

The American Petroleum Institute, an oil and gas trade group, said it was challenging the policy because it would leave Americans at risk of relying on foreign energy sources.

“Demand for affordable, reliable energy is only growing, yet this administration has used every tool at its disposal to restrict access to vast energy resources in federal waters,” API General Counsel Ryan Meyers said in a statement.

The petitions were filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

An Interior Department spokesperson declined to comment.

Environmental group Earthjustice filed a separate petition challenging Interior’s plan on behalf of eight other environmental organizations. They allege the federal agency failed to adequately consider the health impacts the offshore drilling plan would have on local communities.

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