An Appeals Court requires the Biden Administration to withdraw environmental restrictions on an oil and gas concession

Judge Catharina Haynes criticized the arguments of the appeal by environmental groups that claimed that the original project would prevent their members from seeing any specimens of Rice's whale in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed an appeal by environmental groups' against a lower court's ruling requiring the Biden Administration to ease environmental restrictions imposed at the last minute on oil and gas concessions in the Gulf of Mexico.

"I would like to see a dinosaur"

During the oral hearing, Judge Catharina Haynes asked the representatives of the environmental groups that filed the lawsuit if the previous ruling by a lower court really directly affected them in any way. According to Energy Wire, activists argued that the ruling eliminates the "additional protection" to the habitat of the Rice whale - an endangered species - that the Biden Administration added at the last minute to the lease contract and this jeopardizes the possibility that members of the plaintiff groups could see the mammal.

The judge's response during the oral hearing last Monday already indicated that her ruling would not differ from the previous one: "I'd like to see a dinosaur, but I'm not going to. The fact that you would like to see something, while I understand that's important, does it matter?"

After hearing the verdict, the vice president and General Counsel of the American Petroleum Institute (API), Ryan Meyers, celebrated the ruling, according to Fox News: "Energy independence scored an important win tonight with the Fifth Circuit decision lifting unjustified restrictions on oil and natural gas vessels and restoring acreage for offshore energy development."