US ends oil, gas lease sales from public land through June

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — The U.S. Interior Department is cancelling oil and natural gas lease sales from public lands through June amid an ongoing review of how burning that fuel contributes to climate change. President Joe Biden has also ordered Interior officials to review if the sales of public energy reserves unfairly benefit companies at the expense of taxpayers. Wednesday’s action does not affect existing leases, and Interior officials have continued to issue new drilling permits. Lease sales were tentatively scheduled in six states and the multistate eastern region.  Industry representatives and Republican lawmakers argue that cancelling the sales will harm the economies of Western states.