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Federal court hears lawsuit against Biden administration

Landry Lawsuit against Biden Admin
Posted at 9:16 AM, Jun 10, 2021

A preliminary injunction was not granted Thursday, something Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry was asking for in his lawsuit against the Biden administration

Landry and 12 other states are suing the Biden administration to halt the president's executive order to pause new leases for oil and gas drilling on federal land and water.

Landry tells KATC the president's orders have created a graveyard in the gulf.

During the hearing Thursday morning, attorneys for the Department of Justice denied that claim, saying lease sales continue in the gulf and on land.

Only seven sales were paused in the first quarter following the executive order, each for a different decision. The DOJ say the pause to conduct environmental impact reviews, not to stop the new leases.

Landry argues the executive order is causing economic loss for Louisiana but the DOJ disagrees.

They say drilling has not stopped, therefore there is no major economic loss, as states continue to get 70% of drilling revenue.

Solicitor General Liz Murrill had this to say after the hearing.

"The environmental review excuse is post hoc justification for a decision that had already been made. The halt on leasing is a direct response to the President's Executive Order. Meanwhile, energy prices continue to soar, and the economic uncertainty caused by the lack of leases continues to cripple our states' most valuable natural resource – our people," Murrill said.

KATC spoke with the president of the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association, he says from 2010-2019 there were 2,900 platforms producing oil.

The outlook for the future is unknown because it depends on prices.

"If we see the prices tank again like they did in 2015, we'll see activity tank down again, it really depends on the commodity price," Mike Moncla President of LOGA said.

In March, Landry announced his plan to take legal action against the administration.

Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, and West Virginia, joined in the lawsuit filed in the United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana.

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.

Read more: AG Landry leading 13-state lawsuit against the Biden Administration

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