Posted by on September 22, 2023 8:39 pm
Categories: News The Hill

Court orders Biden to expand offshore oil auction
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Energy & Environment

Energy & Environment


The Big Story 

Judge removes Biden restrictions for offshore drilling lease sale

A federal court has ordered the administration to conduct an auction for rights to drill offshore without taking steps to protect endangered whales.

© Getty

U.S. District Judge James Cain Jr., a Trump appointee, blocked the administration from removing 6 million acres from an upcoming offshore oil and gas lease sale. Cain also blocked stipulations restricting boat activity. 


The decision invalidates an agreement between the Biden administration and environmentalists aimed at protecting the Rice’s whale, of which fewer than 100 are estimated to remain. 


Prior to the decision, the Interior Department had scheduled a 67 million acre lease sale for Sept. 27. The judge ordered the administration to move forward with a sale by Sept. 30.


Environmental groups on Friday appealed the order, saying in court that it “poses unjustified harm to the critically endangered Rice’s whale.”

Meanwhile, industry players and Republicans praised the court’s decision. 


“I applaud the Court for correctly deciding that the Biden Administration violated the law and circumvented Congress in their latest attempt to shut down energy exploration and production in the Gulf,” House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) said in a statement. 


Read more in a full report at

Welcome to The Hill’s Energy & Environment newsletter, we’re Rachel Frazin and Zack Budryk — keeping you up to speed on the policies impacting everything from oil and gas to new supply chains.

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Essential Reads 

How policy will affect the energy and environment sectors now and in the future:

The Biden administration is proposing new restrictions on companies that emit hazardous air pollution, after a Trump-era move to weaken regulations. 

A federal judge sided with the Biden administration Thursday on an administration rule that would allow retirement advisers to include climate and environmental factors in their calculations.

The Energy Department will invest $325 million in batteries that can better store clean energy, it announced Friday. 

In Other News 

Branch out with a different read on The Hill:

Hurricane Idalia caused the state of Florida between $78 million to $371 million in agriculture losses, according to a preliminary report from the University of Florida. 

On Our Radar 

Upcoming news themes and events we’re watching:


The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will hold an oversight hearing to examine the General Services Administration, focusing on the federal real estate portfolio.

The Senate Indian Affairs Committee will hold hearings to examine water as a trust resource, focusing on access in Native communities.

The House Science, Space, and Technology Committee will hold a hearing titled “Science and Technology at the EPA.” EPA Administrator Michael Regan is set to testify.



The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing about countering China on mining.

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will hold a hearing on beverage container waste.

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee‘s Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment will hold a hearing on clean water infrastructure financing.

The House Small Business Committee will hold a hearing titled “Energy Independence: How Burdensome Regulations are Crushing Small Offshore Energy Producers.”

What We’re Reading 

News we’ve flagged from other outlets touching on energy issues, the environment and other topics:

New Orleans area officials preparing for possible saltwater intrusion by mid-October (

Illinois’ Signature Climate Law Has Been Slow to Fulfill Promises for Clean Energy and Jobs (Chicago Sun-Times/Inside Climate News)


What climate activists mean when they say “end fossil fuels” (Vox)

Russia’s indefinite ban on diesel exports threatens to aggravate a global shortage (CNBC)

What Others are Reading 

Two key stories on The Hill right now:

Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) announced Friday that he will strip funding for Ukraine out of a Pentagon spending bill after Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) joined conservatives in blocking the legislation from advancing earlier this week. Read more

As lawmakers continue to try to avoid a government shutdown at the end of the month, many are growing concerned about how it could affect them, especially when it comes to federal monthly payments they receive. Read more

Opinions in The Hill 

Op-eds related to energy & environment submitted to The Hill:

You’re all caught up. See you next week! 

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