Massive oil and gas lease shows ‘Gulf is back’

NEW ORLEANS – Following a lease sale here for drilling rights in the Gulf of Mexico that is being described as the largest in 30 years, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar told reporters: “What it does show is the Gulf is back.”

Bids were entered for 454 central Gulf of Mexico tracts that produced $1.74 billion in total outlay. In total, some 40 million acres were put up for lease. 

As noted in an article in the Advocate and in other venues, however, a number of conservation groups are suing to stop the leases from going through. The lawsuit, which claims the federal government hasn’t done enough to make sure a spill like the Deepwater Horizon incident doesn’t happen again, was filed in federal court on Monday. 

Winning bidders yesterday included BP, the Deepwater Horizon culprits, which grabbed 43 winning bids, and a record-breaking $157 million bid from Statoil, of Norway, for a tract in Mississippi Canyon. There were a total of 48 bidders.

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