WASHINGTON — The Biden administration is canceling oil drilling lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska’s Cook Inlet, triggering furious responses from Republicans, who are blaming President Joe Biden’s energy policies for high gas prices.

A spokesperson for the Interior Department, Melissa Schwartz, said in a statement that the Cook Inlet lease sale would not proceed because of a “lack of industry interest.” She said the planned sale of two leases in the Gulf of Mexico was being scrapped because of “conflicting court rulings,” which she said affected the agency’s ability to work on the leases.

The decisions come at a challenging time for the Biden administration. The average price for a gallon of gas nationwide hit $4.37 on Tuesday, a record according to the AAA. Surging prices at the pump have compounded inflationary pressures for consumers, which Biden this week said will be his top domestic priority.

The leasing program presents a dilemma for Biden. He has promised progressive Democrats and environmental groups that he would propel the country away from its dependence on the fossil fuels that are driving climate change. At the same time, he has taken steps to increase oil supplies to try to bring down gas prices, including calling on the oil industry to pump more crude.

Even though any lease sale would not produce oil and gas in time to alleviate current high energy prices, Republicans and oil industry leaders Thursday seized on the cancellation of lease sales to claim that Biden’s actions were exacerbating the pain felt by consumers.

“The Biden administration’s announcement that they will cancel new offshore oil and gas production approaches levels of irresponsibility and reckless stupidity never seen before,” Rep. Garret Graves of Louisiana, the top Republican on the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, said in a statement.

The International Energy Agency said last year that countries must stop approving new oil and gas projects to prevent the planet from dangerously overheating. The overwhelming scientific consensus is that the Earth is warming due largely to greenhouse gases produced when oil, gas and coal are burned.