Fourteen U.S. states including Louisiana and Wyoming took action against the Biden administration, filing lawsuits on Wednesday challenging Biden’s executive order pausing new oil and gas leasing on federal lands and waters.
The legal actions, which seek to restore regular federal drilling auctions, came a day before the administration is set to launch a review of the oil and gas leasing program.
Biden, in January, signed an executive order putting on hold new leasing pending that review. During his election campaign, Biden pledged to end new federal leasing as part of a the progressive liberal climate change agenda.
The pause has brought about heavy criticism from the oil industry and producing states that receive half of the revenues generated from federal lands drilling within their borders.
“We believe that the president’s actions are illegal and unlawful, and we’re going to hold him accountable for them to try to make sure that the gains that we’ve made over the years to help protect domestic oil and gas and energy continue,” Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry said in an interview.
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A coalition of 13 states filed one lawsuit in federal court in Louisiana, while Wyoming filed its own lawsuit in federal court in that state.
The states joining Louisiana’s lawsuit included Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah and West Virginia. All have Republican attorneys general. Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards is a Democrat.
The lawsuits allege the administration’s leasing pause violates the Mineral Leasing Act that requires quarterly lease sales.
In its lawsuit, Wyoming said the administration was also required to conduct an environmental review of the leasing suspension under the National Environmental Policy Act before taking action.
“The real consequences of the action are far from certain and far from uniformly environmentally friendly,” Wyoming said in its complaint.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, responding to a question about the lawsuits, said the Trump administration had “flooded the oil markets with cheap federal leases. This will not affect oil and gas markets for years to come.”
Apparently Psaki does not pump her own gas. There is no question the price of gas has gone up dramatically since Biden took office and you can bet it is not all related to the devastating storms in Texas that knocked out power plants, many wind generated. Another good indicator that sweeping climate change policies are detrimental to the industry and to Americans.
The Department of Interior, which oversees the federal leasing program, declined to comment.
Reuters contributed to this report.
ARTICLE SOURCE : thefederalistpapers.org