Oil industry: BLM prevents job creation in Calif.

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US Bureau of Land Management (AP Photo)

US Bureau of Land Management (AP Photo)

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Oil industry associations say federal land managers are blocking new energy development by postponing all oil and gas lease auctions in California until October.

John Felmy, the chief economist for the American Petroleum Institute, says the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s recent announcement that it will put off leasing public lands in the state is preventing job creation.

BLM says the decision was forced by budget problems, and the toll of environmental litigation over parcels near the Monterey Shale, one of the nation’s largest deposits of shale oil.

BLM’s state director Jim Kenna says the agency will concentrate on enforcement of existing leases.

The decision also came after a federal judge ruled last month that BLM violated a key environmental law when it auctioned certain drilling rights before performing a sweeping environmental review.

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