After holding its breath for nearly six months, the state of La., and its oil-and-gas-dependent economy can finally exhale. At least for now. Reese Energy Consulting today is following the jubilant news that the Administration’s “temporary pause” on drilling and awarding new oil leases on federal lands and waters will be immediately lifted nationwide. Twelve other states joined La., in the lawsuit heard by Western District Court Judge Terry Doughty. Since the moratorium went into effect—first in January on public lands and again in March on offshore lease auctions—La., has been hit particularly hard. The state last November received $120.8 million in high bids and scheduled its next auction for March. That’s when the second shoe dropped. The March leases included 14,594 blocks covering 78.2 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico. Auction revenues are used for a constellation of needs in the Gulf Coast, including hurricane protection, flood control, coastal restoration, local government funding, and jobs for state workers.
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