"The Interior Department is set to auction oil and gas drilling rights to an area of federal land roughly twice the size of Los Angeles over the next six weeks, as part of its first oil and gas lease sales since March.
Environmental groups are calling the lease upcoming lease sales a last-minute land rush for the oil industry prior to the November election. But oil industry group say the auctions are necessary to ensure the security of future jobs.
The Bureau of Land Management, part of Interior, will begin a series of nine oil and gas lease sales nationwide starting Aug. 26, auctioning the drilling rights to more than 535,000 acres of federal public land and minerals in 13 states from Nevada to Michigan.
Amid the coronavirus pandemic and economic turmoil in the fossil energy industry, the land bureau canceled all oil and gas lease sales it had previously scheduled for the summer."