Feds Delay Drilling Rights Auction in California

Budget problems, lawsuits blamed


Federal land managers on Tuesday postponed all oil and gas lease auctions in California until October, citing budget problems and low staffing as well as the toll of environmental litigation.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management announced it would put off an auction planned for later this month for leases to drill almost 1,300 acres of prime public lands near the Monterey Shale, home to one of the largest deposits of shale oil in the nation.

Another auction that had been in the works in the Ukiah area, about 100 miles north of San Francisco, also was put on hold until the end of the fiscal year.