Obama punts on oil lease sales until after Paris

The Obama administration is delaying until March its latest round of oil and natural gas leases, which was scheduled to be held the day before the end of the climate talks in Paris on Friday.

Environmentalists are claiming victory for the schedule change as a result of their campaign to pressure President Obama to keep fossil fuels in the ground.

The Department of Interior's Bureau of Land Management announced Monday it would reschedule the lease sale and combine it with the next quarterly sale on March 17. It did not discuss the climate change talks as being a factor or that the leasing program would be suspended in any way.

The lease sale would have occurred one day before the United Nations climate talks were to conclude in Paris. Reaching a deal to limit global emissions from fossil fuels is a key objective of Obama's last year in office. The emissions that the deal would seek to limit are blamed by many scientists for causing the climate of the earth to warm, resulting in more severe weather and floods.

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