Trump admin sells oil leases in California despite opposition

By Nichola Groom (Reuters) - The Trump administration on Thursday sold oil and gas leases on federal land in California for the first time in eight years despite widespread opposition to the auction in the Democratic state, including from its governor. The auction of seven parcels covering 4,100 acres (16.6 square kilometers) brought in just over $46,000 in high bids, according to results posted online at the auction site EnergyNet.

Reuters December 11, 2020 01:05:35 IST
Trump admin sells oil leases in California despite opposition

Trump admin sells oil leases in California despite opposition

By Nichola Groom

(Reuters) - The Trump administration on Thursday sold oil and gas leases on federal land in California for the first time in eight years despite widespread opposition to the auction in the Democratic state, including from its governor.

The auction of seven parcels covering 4,100 acres (16.6 square kilometers) brought in just over $46,000 in high bids, according to results posted online at the auction site EnergyNet. All of the acreage sold, and the sale's average price per acre was $11.

The parcels in Kern County, which is home to most of the state's drilling activity, had been previously leased, according to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, which oversaw the sale.

The auction in the waning days of President Donald Trump’s administration represents yet another clash between Trump's pro-fossil fuel agenda and the Golden State's efforts to combat climate change – a battle that has been waged on issues ranging from auto emissions to curbs on pollution from the power sector.

Joe Biden, a Democrat who will succeed Trump on Jan. 20, has pledge to halt new oil and gas leasing on federal lands and waters as part of a sweeping plan to fight global warming.

Federal drilling auctions in California were halted in 2013 after state officials filed lawsuits challenging the practice on environmental and health grounds.

BLM concluded last December that opening the lands to development presents no health risks.

State officials, including Governor Gavin Newsom, filed a formal protest against the sale with BLM last month.

BLM dismissed the protest ahead of the auction, saying the state's arguments against the sale had been raised and resolved during the environmental review process.

(Reporting by Nichola Groom; Editing by Marguerita Choy)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

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