The Latest on oil and gas lease sale (all times local):
About a dozen protesters with a petition to stop a federal oil lease sale were not allowed into the federally leased building in New Orleans where the sale is being held.
Sheriff's deputies barring the way said Tuesday that the building is privately owned and the owner did not want the demonstrators inside.
The protesters say they're trying to exercise their first amendment right to express their views and petition the government.
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is holding a lease sale on 23.5 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico off of Texas coast.
Five months after protesters disrupted an oil and gas lease sale for tracts in the Gulf of Mexico, the government is livestreaming a sale while closing the site in New Orleans where bids are read.
Spokeswoman Caryl Fagot (fuh-GOH) says the demonstration in March contributed to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management's decision to close the site while livestreaming Wednesday's sale.
But she says it's not the only reason. The bureau has been holding its lease renewals entirely online for several years, and has been looking at livestreaming for a while, to broaden the audience.
Wednesday's sale will offer 23.5 million acres off of Texas.
Last year's sale was the smallest ever for that area. Five companies bid on 33 tracts for a total of $22.7 million in high bids. Each tract drew one bid.