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New Mexico oil and gas lease sale moves forward amid calls to cancel

The first lease of federal land in New Mexico for oil and gas development during the administration of the President Joe Biden could be sold next year.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) moved forward with a sale, concluding a public comment period Oct. 1 as its parent agency the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) conducted a review of its fossil fuel program.

Upon taking office in January, Biden implemented an indefinite halt of new federal oil and gas leasing as the DOI undertook a review of its fossil fuel policy, aiming to better address growing pollution and climate change concerns.

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A federal judge in Louisiana this summer issued an injunction barring the DOI from enforcing the halt on new leases, ordering the federal government resume lease sales it previously conducted quarterly during the previous administration of President Donald Trump.