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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A drilling rig operates in the oil and natural gas production area of ​​the Permian Basin in Lea County, New Mexico, US, Feb. 10, 2019. REUTERS/Nick Oxford/File Photo

(Reuters) – The Biden administration said Friday it would resume oil and gas development plans on federal lands after a court ruling this week temporarily reinstated a measure designed to help offset the costs of global warming weight in federal decision-making.

The development is the latest in a series of stops and starts to the federal oil and gas leasing program since President Joe Biden took office in January 2021. Biden promised during his presidential campaign to halt federal drilling auctions, but that effort was thwarted by a legal challenge of Republican-led states.

Just a month ago, the Department of the Interior said it would postpone its upcoming federal oil and gas lease sale because a Louisiana federal judge prevented the government from using the value of the “social cost of carbon” to measure the risks of climate change. in licensing, investment and regulatory decisions.

Earlier this week, a federal appeals court allowed the government to temporarily continue using the value of about $50 per tonne of greenhouse gases emitted. The White House had returned to an Obama-era value much higher than the roughly $10 a ton imposed by the Trump administration early last year.

“With this ruling, the Department continues its planning for responsible oil and gas development on America’s public lands and waters,” said Home Office spokesman Melissa Schwartz in an emailed statement.

She declined to say whether the government would resume oil and gas lease auctions any time soon.

Before the February ruling, the Home Office’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) had been preparing to hold lease sales in several western states. The environmental analyzes for those sales were based on the social costs of carbon imposed by Biden.

An industry group, the Western Energy Alliance, said the sale should go ahead now.

“We heard directly from BLM that the district court ruling caused them to halt progress because they should have changed the analysis, but now that they haven’t, they can move on,” said Alliance president Kathleen Sgamma. in a statement. an e-mail.

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