President Joe Biden’s Jan. 27 order to pause oil and gas leasing on federal lands hit Wyoming on Friday as the BLM postponed the auction of 383 parcels covering almost half a million acres.
The leasing pause will enable a review that’s part of an all-government fight against “a profound climate crisis” exacerbated by the burning of fossil fuels, Biden’s order states. The BLM had scheduled the first-quarter 2021 sale of development rights on 476,506 acres for March 15 after deciding the sale would not “significantly affect the rate of change” in the environment. The agency did not say when a lease sale might be rescheduled.
The BLM’s first quarter sale last year brought in $3.4 million after energy companies leased 75 parcels covering 71,689 acres. Wyoming received about half the sale’s proceeds and will also get a share of future production royalties, if production ever occurs. The auction last year sold less than a sixth of the acreage that had been proposed for sale this March.