Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry has announced legal action taken against the Biden Administration to "protect jobs and uphold the rule of law."
The lawsuit, which you can read for yourself below, was filed in federal court in Lafayette. The states are asking the court to throw out the moratorium on oil and gas leases on federal lands and waters, and order federal agencies to begin leasing again. The states also allege that the order wasn't legally proper, and that the government must be ordered not to issue it again.
Landry says he is leading the 13-state lawsuit against the Biden Administration’s halt on oil and gas leasing, calling it an attack on American energy independence, good-paying jobs, and affordable energy for all.
The following states joined in the lawsuit filed on Wednesday morning in the United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, and West Virginia.
In January, President Biden signed an executive order to begin halting oil and gas leasing on federal lands and waters.
Executive Order 14008 halted oil and gas leasing operations, days after the Biden Interior Department took similar steps against activities on existing leases.
According to NPR, Biden ordered the Department of the Interior to "pause" new oil and gas leasing on public land and offshore water "to the extent possible" and to review existing leasing and permitting practices "related to fossil fuel development" on the properties.
Oil and gas drilling on tribal land would not be barred by Biden's order.
"Together, these actions make-up the Biden Ban – an aggressive, reckless abuse of Presidential power that threatens American families' livelihoods and our national interests," Landry said. “By executive fiat, Joe Biden and his administration have single-handedly driven the price of energy up – costing the American people where it hurts most, in their pocketbooks.”
Landry says the Executive Order abandons middle-class jobs and puts energy security in the hands of foreign countries.
In the same report by NPR, they says that Biden's halt on new oil and gas leasing also does nothing to affect activities on private or state lands, where roughly 90% of the country's oil and gas development occurs.
The Associated Press reports that the Interior Department order did not limit existing oil and gas operations under valid leases, meaning activity won’t come to a sudden halt on the millions of acres of lands in the West and offshore in the Gulf of Mexico where much drilling is concentrated. Its effect could be further blunted by companies that stockpiled enough drilling permits in Trump’s final months to allow them to keep pumping oil and gas for years.
The lawsuit states,
“The Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act and Mineral Leasing Act set out specific statutory duties requiring executive agencies to further the expeditious and safe development of the abundant energy. In compliance with those statutes, the Department of the Interior has for decades issued leases for the development of oil and natural gas on public lands and offshore waters.”
“For decades, Congress has embraced responsible development of our natural resources as a means of achieving energy independence – a matter of national security,” continued Attorney General Landry. “They have discarded vulnerable dependence on foreign oil, which is why the court should reject the Biden Ban.”
He says the Executive Order impacts and harms Louisiana by reducing revenue and royalties from federal oil and gas leases.
"Canceling lease sales will reduce Louisiana's GOMESA funding by up to $57 million."
The lawsuit can be read below:
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