News bites: Federal coal leasing under fire, Debby dampens Gulf oil-and-gas, and more

Reuters reports that Tropical Storm Debby is forcing some Gulf of Mexico oil-and-gas producers to suspend operations.

The Washington Post examines criticism of federal auctions of coal-mining leases. From its story:

The government’s longtime practice of auctioning coal mining rights to a single bidder may have cost taxpayers as much as $28.9 billion over the past 30 years, according to an analysis to be released Monday by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, a Cambridge, Mass.-based think tank.

The non-competitive nature of the federal leasing program is being reviewed by the Interior Department’s inspector general and also will be the subject of an audit by the Government Accountability Office, according to officials at the Bureau of Land Management, which oversees the leasing program.

Time magazine looks at sea-level rise along the East Coast.

Gasoline prices keep falling, CNN reports.

Bloomberg reports that concerns about Europe’s economy are weighing down oil prices.