A federal judge invalidated the Biden administration's oil and gas lease in the Gulf of Mexico.
CNN  — 

A federal judge on Thursday invalidated a massive oil and gas lease sale for 80 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico after a coalition of environmental groups sued the Biden administration to stop it.

The ruling cancels 1.7 million acres of oil and gas leases from that sale, according to data from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.

The administration tried in its first days in office to put a stop to new oil and gas drilling. On January 27, 2021, Biden signed an executive order that paused new permits and directed the Department of the Interior to launch a “rigorous review” of existing programs related to fossil fuel development.

But a lawsuit filed in March on behalf of 13 states led to a judgment from a federal court in Louisiana that blocked Biden’s pause and the sale went forward in November. At the time, administration officials openly admitted that the sale was at odds with its climate goals and said its hands were tied.

In the Thursday ruling, Rudolph Contreras, a US District Court judge for the District of Columbia, said the lease sale was invalid because the Department of Interior’s analysis did not fully take into account the climate impacts of the leases.

Interior Department spokesperson Melissa Schwartz tweeted a statement Thursday night noting the Louisiana ruling “compelled” the department to hold the lease sale using the Trump administration’s analysis.

“Our public lands and waters must be protected for generations to come,” the statement continued. “We have documented serious deficiencies in the federal oil and gas program. Especially in the face of the climate crisis, we need to take the time to make significant and long overdue programmatic reforms. Our work will be guided by the law, science and sound policy.”

Scott Lauermann, a spokesperson for the American Petroleum Institute, told CNN it is reviewing the “disappointing decision