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Federal judge halts Biden administration's federal lands drilling pause

U.S. Western District Courthouse
Posted at 5:15 PM, Jun 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-15 23:37:15-04

A Federal Judge in Lafayette has granted a preliminary injunction that stops implementation of the Biden Administration's pause on drilling permits on federal lands.

Last week, U.S. District Judge Terry Doughty heard arguments from 13 states who are suing over the moratorium as well as the Department of Justice and environmental groups who support it.

Today, Doughty issued his stay. In it, the judge orders that the pause can't be implemented until the lawsuit is resolved, or until an appeals court lifts it.

The president signed an executive order to pause new leases for oil and gas drilling on federal land and water.

To read about the hearing, click here.

Louisiana's lawyers argued that 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.

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

Landry issued the following statement regarding the preliminary injunction:

This is a victory not only for the rule of law, but also for the thousands of workers who produce affordable energy for Americans. We appreciate that federal courts have recognized President Biden is completely outside his authority in his attempt to shut down oil and gas leases on federal lands.

Senator Bill Cassidy and Congressman Clay Higgins also released statements after the announcement:

This is fantastic news for workers in Louisiana whose livelihoods are being threatened by the administration's thoughtless energy policy. The president should not be able to take away tens of thousands of jobs to fulfill a campaign promise. We need a long-term, all-of-the-above strategy that does not pick winners and losers. The Department of the Interior should immediately begin moving forward with another offshore lease sale.
Senator Bill Cassidy
Jeff Landry has delivered a win for the entire country. He’s a man we can count on to get the job done. I’m honored to stand shoulder to shoulder with him, fighting for Louisiana.
Congressman Clay Higgins

Louisiana Oil & Gas Association President Mike Moncla released the below statement:

This ruling is a win for every worker in the country, but especially in Louisiana where we depend so much on the Gulf of Mexico. The policies of this administration have been grueling for Americans at the pump, so hopefully legal decisions like these will help ease that pain on Americans.

Louisiana’s economy has suffered under this pandemic, and the energy sector has gotten the brunt of it. If President Biden wants to truly enact policies that get this nation back on track, he should join the industry’s efforts in modernizing clean energy practices while maintaining a prosperous economy.

Even though the fight against the Biden Administration’s climate agenda is far from over, this is a glimmer of hope for an industry that has suffered under this White House.