The Wednesday sale has become a rallying cry for environmentalists, who are calling for an end to leasing of public lands for oil, gas and coal development
23 of March 2016 08:01:21
NEW ORLEANS — The federal government is selling off oil and gas leases in the Gulf of Mexico during a sale Wednesday, but environmentalists opposed to fossil fuels development on public lands plan to protest.The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is offering about 45 million acres for exploration and development. Companies submit bids in advance to the agency, which announces the results at the sale. It's held at the Superdome.Wednesday's auction will be for lots in the central and eastern sections of the Gulf. The central region is generally the most active part of the Gulf. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management said Tuesday that it had received 148 bids on 128 blocks in the central section but had received no bids for the eastern region.Interest has been limited in recent sales as the industry struggles with low energy prices.Five companies bid a total of less than $23 million on 33 tracts in the western Gulf in August of last year, a record low for that section.The Wednesday sale has become a rallying cry for environmentalists, who are calling for an end to leasing of public lands for oil, gas and coal development. Environmentalists have protested at similar government auctions around the country in recent months, said Laurel Sutherlin, from the Rainforest Action Network.