Federal Judge Blocks Biden’s Pause on New Federal Oil and Gas Leases
The Keystone XL pipeline project officially died last week as the Canadian company that had long sought to build it terminated the project, marking the end of a 13-year battle.
While former President Donald Trump took action aimed to allow completion of the pipeline, Joe Biden signed an executive order revoking the permit his first day in office. Meanwhile, Biden had no problem overriding his staff to stop sanctions on the Russian Nord Stream 2 pipeline.
Among Biden’s other executive orders was one halting new oil and gas leases on public lands and waters, and to begin a thorough review of existing permits for fossil fuel development. A coalition of states brought a lawsuit against that order, and just scored a major victory.
According to Fox Business:
A federal judge in Louisiana issued a preliminary injunction blocking the Biden administration from pausing new oil and gas leases on federal land.
Judge Terry A. Doughty of the U.S. District Court in Monroe said the administration doesn’t have the legal right to stop leasing federal territory for oil-and-gas production without approval from Congress.
The judge, appointed by former President Donald Trump, also said that states suing the federal government—largely southern and coastal states—will be harmed immediately as the pause prevents them from collecting lease bids and bonuses from oil-and-gas prospectors.
The suit against the federal government was filed by Louisiana, Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah and West Virginia in March.
The Interior Department said they would comply with the judge’s order, but would “continue a review of current leasing and permitting practices,” assessment Biden requested.
Judge Dohety made note of the “irreparable injury” that states face if Biden’s suspension is kept in place. “Millions and possibly billions of dollars are at stake. Local government funding, jobs for [workers in the states that sued], and funds for the restoration of Louisiana’s Coastline are at stake” he wrote. Drilling on federal lands and waters generated $6 billion in tax revenue last year.
Matt Palumbo is the author of Dumb and Dumber: How Cuomo and de Blasio Ruined New York, Debunk This: Shattering Liberal Lies, and Spygate
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