June 12, 2020 / 5:19 PM / a month ago

Trump administration delays big Wyoming oil and gas lease sale

(Reuters) - The Trump administration has shelved a large oil and gas lease sale in Wyoming that was scheduled for later this month, according to a government spokeswoman, the sixth such postponement in the last month.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management, which oversees the federal government’s leasing program, had previously delayed sales in Utah, Mississippi, Nevada and Colorado expected this month, as well as a major sale in New Mexico in late May.

Courtney Whiteman, a spokeswoman for BLM’s Wyoming office, confirmed the delay and said the 135 parcels that had been scheduled to be offered on June 23 and 24 would be wrapped into a September sale. The parcels cover nearly 170,000 acres (690 square kilometers).

Whiteman did not give a reason for the postponement.

The Wyoming sale had been the only remaining federal oil and gas auction on this month’s calendar.

Drilling on federal lands is a crucial part of President Donald Trump’s “energy dominance” agenda to maximize domestic production of fossil fuels. But the historic drop in oil prices due to fallout from the novel coronavirus dampened demand for federal oil and gas leases at auctions held earlier this year.

The next lease sale on BLM’s calendar will be held in New Mexico in late August.

Reporting by Nichola Groom; Editing by Marguerita Choy

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