"Over the next week and a half, the federal government will make its quarterly offering of public lands for sale to oil and gas developers.
Absent from the auction block: more than 1 million acres that the Bureau of Land Management pulled from its December sales after a federal judge temporarily blocked the agency from streamlining the leasing process in sage grouse areas (Greenwire, Oct. 24). A trio of cases requiring BLM to take a closer look at downstream climate impacts could also affect the agency's long-term approach to leasing public lands for oil and gas development.
The Sept. 21 preliminary injunction issued by Chief Magistrate Judge Ronald Bush in the U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho was a significant — if temporary and partial — win for groups that have fought efforts by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and Deputy Secretary David Bernhardt to achieve "energy dominance" on federal and tribal lands. But the battle is far from over, said Michael Saul, a senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity, one of the plaintiffs in the case."