On Tuesday, a federal judge in Louisiana allowed oil and gas leasing on public lands and waters. This invalidates the previous order made by President Joe Biden to block the said activities. As a result, the White House suffered a massive setback in its efforts in addressing climate change.
Oil and Gas Leasing To Resume
Attorneys General of Louisiana and West Virginia filed a motion to stop the Biden administration from holding off oil and gas leasing activities in at least 13 states.
In particular, states that joined the lawsuit were Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, and Utah. Also, Wyoming filed a separate suit.
Judge Terry Doughty of the US District Court for the Western District of Louisiana said the states met the requirements for the lawsuit to proceed.
Specifically, the states established that they will each suffer injury if the new oil and gas leases remain on hold. “Millions and possibly billions of dollars are at stake,” Doughty wrote. “Although there is certainly nothing wrong with performing a comprehensive review, there is a problem in ignoring acts of Congress while the review is being completed,” Doughty added.
Freeze On The Freeze Order
The order gave a preliminary injunction to the 13 states over the freeze on new drilling auctions and oil and gas leasing. Louisiana remains a major hub for offshore oil and gas production.
The federal government wanted a review of all existing fossil fuel agreements. This is part of the Biden administration’s move to limit fossil-fuel extraction in the name of fighting climate change.
Meanwhile, the Interior Department said they will comply with the ruling. However, they have yet to confirm when the auctions can resume.
The nation's top oil and gas trade group, the American Petroleum Institute, issued a statement. It urged the administration “to move expeditiously to follow the court's order and lift the federal leasing pause”.
Meanwhile, the Center for Biological Diversity environmental group issued a statement deriding Doughty’s decision. The order “turns a blind eye to runaway climate pollution that's devastating our planet.”
Interior Secretary Deb Haaland earlier said that the federal oil and gas program remains “fundamentally broken” and said that “taxpayers deserve to make the most out of their public lands”. In addition, Interior officials insist that the review is temporary. Also, they stressed that the policy does not affect existing leases.
Meanwhile, the Attorney General of the 13 states hailed Doughty’s decision. In fact, West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said the ruling was “the first of many major victories against the Biden administration.”
Watch the Stream News report that a federal judge is set to rule on an effort to lift Biden’s moratorium on new oil:
Do you support the ruling allowing the resumption of new oil and gas leasing activities? Also, do you agree that Biden shouldn’t freeze oil and gas leasing without considering a state’s economy?
Tell us what you think about Judge Doughty’s decision. Share your comments below.
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