WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. circuit judge on Wednesday vacated a lower court's decision to block the Biden administration's pause on new oil and gas leasing on federal land and waters - a key piece of the president's climate change strategy - and sent the case back to that court for further proceedings.
The judge, who serves on the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, vacated the Louisiana district court decision to block the Interior Department's leasing pause after Louisiana and a dozen states sued the administration established arguing that they would suffer injury from the policy.
President Joe Biden had paused the government's new leases in January 2021 as part of a sweeping plan to rein in fossil-fuel extraction on federal land and combat the effects of climate change.
The Interior Department last year said it would proceed with new leases during the appeals process "consistent with the district court's injunction during the appeal."
It is currently reviewing the decision, Interior spokesperson Melissa Schwartz said.
(Reporting by Valerie Volcovici; Editing by Mark Porter and Lisa Shumaker)