The Latest: Protesters disrupt oil and gas lease sale

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The Latest on a federal government auction of leases for oil and gas tracts in the Gulf of Mexico (all times local):


Dozens of environmental protesters shouting "Shut it down" disrupted a federal government oil and gas lease auction in New Orleans.

They showed up during Wednesday morning's bidding at the Superdome on leases for roughly 45 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico.

Oil and gas companies have submitted bids for the right to explore and develop oil and natural gas deposits in the central and eastern Gulf.

Protesters say the drilling and the use of fossil fuels are harmful to the environment.

They marched to the Superdome holding signs saying "no drill, no spill" or "Keep it in the Ground."

As an announcer at a microphone gave the results of the bidding, the protesters shouted "Shut it down." People present for the auction recorded the proceedings with their phones.


6 a.m.

The federal government is selling off oil and gas leases in the Gulf of Mexico during a sale in New Orleans.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has been collecting bids from companies and will announce the results Wednesday at the Superdome.

Approximately 45 million acres will be made available for oil and gas exploration and development in the Gulf as part of the sale.

Interest has been limited in recent sales as the industry struggles with low oil prices.

Outside the Superdome, environmental groups are expected to protest the sale. The protest is part of a national effort to stop the leasing of public lands to oil, gas and coal industries.

But industry groups say the lease sales produce jobs, economic development and energy for consumers.