Erik Milito, President of the National Ocean Industries Association (NOIA), issued the following statement in response to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana’s preliminary injunction finding that the implementation of the challenged actions was procedurally invalid and that Interior’s decision was arbitrary and capricious. This injunction blocks the new restrictions related to the Rice’s whale in the Final Notice of Sale for Gulf of Mexico Lease Sale 261 and restores millions of acres to the sale.

“The injunction is a necessary and welcome response from the court to an unnecessary decision by the Biden administration. The removal of millions of highly prospective acres and the imposition of excessive restrictions stemmed from a voluntary agreement with activist groups that circumvented the law, ignored science, and bypassed public input.

“In a period when inflation is increasing expenses for Americans, particularly in terms of gasoline prices, we must fully harness America’s energy production capabilities, particularly those offshore. Our leaders should stop ignoring the vast benefits that U.S. offshore oil and gas production provides to Americans. This includes an abundance of energy resources, high-paying job opportunities, environmentally responsible low carbon output, support for coastal resilience and restoration, and enhanced national security, among numerous other benefits.”