A federal judge in Louisiana stopped the Biden administration on Tuesday from blocking new oil and gas drilling leases on federal land, a key component of Biden’s far-left environmental agenda, by issuing an preliminary injunction in the case.
“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 Wall Street Journal reported, adding that the judge noted 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.”
More than a dozen states sued the Biden administration over its extreme proposal, including Louisiana, Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah and West Virginia.
The Financial Times reported:
The ruling was a significant setback for Joe Biden, who ordered the suspension of new leases for fossil fuel development on public lands and waters in January while a review of the permitting process was carried out.
The suspension — which did not affect existing drilling permits — fulfilled an election pledge and marked the president’s most significant move against the energy sector after he campaigned on a “transition away from oil”.
“The omission of any rational explanation in cancelling the lease sales, and in enacting the Pause, results in this Court ruling that Plaintiff States also have a substantial likelihood of success on the merits of this claim,” Doughty wrote. “Millions and possibly billions of dollars are at stake. Plaintiff states have a reliance interest in the proceeds derived from offshore and on land oil and gas lease sales.
Doughty added, “Local government funding, jobs for Plaintiff State workers, and funds for the restoration of Louisiana’s Coastline are at stake.”
Officials who support American energy praised the decision as a victory for the rule of law, workers, and American citizens.
“The federal leasing pause is harmful to our nation’s national security, environmental progress and economic recovery,” said Kevin O’Scannlain, vice-president of upstream policy at the American Petroleum Institute. “We are pleased to see the court ruling that natural gas and oil leasing must resume on federal lands and waters, and we urge the administration to move expeditiously to follow the court’s order and lift the federal leasing pause. Now is the time for the administration to put an end to this ‘import more oil’ policy that threatens American jobs and deprives state and local communities of much-needed revenue, all while likely increasing emissions and the risks of climate change.”
Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry said the ruling was “a major win for the Constitution, for workers employed in the oil and gas industry and for all Americans who have felt pain at the pump.”
“This is a victory not only for the rule of law, but also for the thousands of workers who produce affordable energy for Americans,” Landry said. “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.”
MAJOR BREAKING NEWS: Federal court SIDES with Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry, issues nationwide halt against Biden's attempt to shut down oil and gas leases on federal lands. #oilandgas #lalege #lagov pic.twitter.com/BBZbeO6bnh
— AG Jeff Landry (@AGJeffLandry) June 15, 2021
Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) said the ruling was “great news for Louisiana energy workers and their families!”
Rep. Jody Arrington (R-TX) responded to the news by saying that the ruling could “save a million jobs and preserve a safe and affordable supply of energy for all Americans.”