BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) - The Biden administration has suspended new oil and gas leasing and drilling permits on public lands and waters for 60 days as part a review of programs at the U.S. Department of Interior.
The move follows campaign pledges by President Joe Biden to halt new drilling on U.S. lands and end the leasing of publicly owned energy reserves as part of his plan to address climate change.
The suspension went into effect immediately under an order signed Wednesday by Acting Interior Secretary Scott de la Vega and drew a quick backlash from the oil industry.
The order also suspends the approval of new mining plans, land sales or exchanges and the hiring of senior-level staff.
Governor John Bel Edwards sent the following statement to KATC:
"The continued leasing and development of oil and natural gas in the Gulf of Mexico is critical not only to the coastal Gulf states that host the infrastructure and support industries for Gulf OCS exploration, but to the economy and energy security of the nation as a whole.
We look forward to learning more about the Biden administration's plan and working together to achieve responsible energy exploration and production."
Two Louisiana representatives have voiced their disapproval on this action.
Senator Bill Cassidy said the following on his Facebook page:
"Louisiana energy workers have already been slammed by this pandemic. If our goal is to help our nation and families recover, we need to create jobs, not prevent opportunities."
Congressman Clay Higgins (R-LA) issued the following statement:
"President Biden is weaponizing the federal government against American energy producers. The Biden moratorium will destroy thousands of oil and gas jobs, raise energy costs, and increase reliance on foreign energy. We went from a President who put America first to a President who puts America last. Further, sending oil and gas production overseas to nations with horrible ecological records is the worst thing we can do for the environment. It’s not just bad for America, it’s bad for the world.”
Louisiana Oil and Gas Association released the following statement:
Biden is being very clear when he kills thousands of jobs on day one of his administration.
These moratoriums intended to regulate American oil and gas companies out of business backfire by burdening main street and households everywhere. "Now more than ever people cannot afford heightened energy costs,” Mike Moncla, LOGA Interim President said. "A better approach would be to support the recovery with sustainable policies that benefit struggling Americans with affordable, reliable, American energy."
Restricting offshore development will jeopardize hundreds of thousands of jobs and billions in revenue. "A large portion of drilling activity in Louisiana is from offshore federal waters,” Moncla added. "Biden should focus on responsible offshore energy development that will aid in nation’s economic recovery."
As for the Keystone decision, energy infrastructure projects are critical for America’s economic recovery. Stopping these infrastructure projects will only ensure more emissions, not fewer.
The US is a world leader in reducing emissions thanks to American innovation and the insurgence of cleaner natural gas. “When we prohibit the US from producing American energy, but everyone still needs fuel and infinite products from oil and natural gas, we will end up importing fuel from countries that don’t have standards as high as ours,” Moncla said. “Ironically, this kind of political move to satisfy a few special interest groups will end up producing more global emissions while killing thousands of high paying American jobs.”
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