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Biden administration ends moratorium on drilling leases on federal land

The Biden administration announced Friday it would resume selling leases for oil and gas drilling on federal land, albeit at a higher cost to energy companies and with less available land, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Per the Journal, royalties will increase from 12.5 percent to 18.75 percent of the value of any oil or gas extracted, while the acreage available for drilling leases has been reduced by around 80 percent from the amount previously under evaluation.

President Biden announced a moratorium on new drilling leases on federal land the day he took office, but a federal judge in Louisiana blocked the moratorium in June after 13 Republican attorneys general sued.

The Department of the Interior allowed lease sales to resume after Judge Terry Doughty of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana ruled that the plaintiff states had "a reliance interest in the proceeds derived from offshore and on land oil and gas lease sales," NBC News reported at the time of the ruling.

It is unclear if the plaintiffs will continue with the ongoing lawsuit after the Biden administration's announcement on Friday, the Journal reported.