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Biden cancels 3 offshore oil lease sales scheduled in Gulf Coast, Alaska

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WASHINGTON - The Biden administration says it is canceling three oil and gas lease sales scheduled in the Gulf of Mexico and off the coast of Alaska, removing millions of acres from possible drilling as U.S.

gas prices reach record highs.The Interior Department announced the decision Wednesday night, citing a lack of industry interest in drilling off the Alaska coast and "conflicting court rulings" that have complicated drilling efforts in the Gulf of Mexico, where the bulk of U.S.

offshore drilling takes place,The decision likely means the Biden administration will not hold a lease sale for offshore drilling this year and comes as Interior appears set to let a mandatory five-year plan for offshore drilling expire next month."Unfortunately, this is becoming a pattern — the administration talks about the need for more supply and acts to restrict it,'' said Frank Macchiarola, senior vice president of the American Petroleum Institute, the top lobbying group for the oil and gas industry.Secretary of Interior Deb Haaland, speaks at the Queen theater on December 19, 2020 in Wilmington, Delaware. (Credit: Photo by Joshua Roberts/Getty Images) "As geopolitical volatility and global energy prices continue to rise, we again urge the administration to end the uncertainty and immediately act on a new five-year program for federal offshore leasing,'' he said.The lease cancellations come as gas prices have surged to a record $4.40 a gallon amid the war in Ukraine and other disruptions that have pushed prices $1.40 a gallon higher than a year ago.

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