BATON ROUGE, LA – Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry is leading a 13-state lawsuit against the Biden Administration’s attack on American energy independence, good-paying jobs, and affordable energy for all.
In January, President Biden solidified a moratorium on new development of oil and gas fields on federal lands. Executive Order 14008 halted all oil and gas leasing operations, days after the Biden Interior Department took similar steps against activities on existing leases. Together, these actions make-up the Biden Ban – an aggressive, reckless abuse of Presidential power that threatens American families’ livelihoods and our national interests.
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“By executive fiat, Joe Biden and his administration have single-handedly driven the price of energy up – costing the American people where it hurts most, in their pocketbooks,” said Attorney General Landry. “Biden’s Executive Orders abandon middle-class jobs at a time when America needs them most and put our energy security in the hands of foreign countries, many of whom despise America’s greatness.”
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The lawsuit states, “The Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act and Mineral Leasing Act set out specific statutory duties requiring executive agencies to further the expeditious and safe development of the abundant energy. In compliance with those statutes, the Department of the Interior has for decades issued leases for the development of oil and natural gas on public lands and offshore waters.”
“For decades, Congress has embraced responsible development of our natural resources as a means of achieving energy independence – a matter of national security,” continued Attorney General Landry. “They have discarded vulnerable dependence on foreign oil, which is why the court should reject the Biden Ban.”
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The Biden Ban’s attack on Louisiana energy will devastate our coast and the people who live here. These jobs provide food to put on the table and are the lifeblood of our coastal communities. The White House purports the Biden Ban to protect the environment, but instead it constitutes what is likely the single-largest divestment of revenue for environmental protection projects in American history. The Biden Ban immediately impacts and harms Louisiana by reducing revenue and royalties from federal oil and gas leases. Canceling lease sales will reduce Louisiana’s GOMESA funding by up to $57 million.
In addition to Louisiana – the following states joined in the lawsuit filed this morning in the United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, and West Virginia.
More on the lawsuit to block Biden Administration’s violation of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA) and the Mineral Leasing Act (MLA):
- To facilitate the Outer Continental Shelf’s expeditious development, OCSLA directs the Secretary of the Interior to “administer the provisions of this subchapter relating to the leasing of the outer Continental Shelf.” To this end, OCSLA requires the Secretary to create a Five-Year Leasing Program and authorizes her “to grant to the highest responsible qualified bidder or bidders by competitive bidding, under regulations promulgated in advance, any oil and gas lease on submerged lands of the outer Continental Shelf” not covered by prior leases. OCSLA also requires the Department to review lessee requests for approval to explore and develop oil and gas resources. States are entitled to significant portions of the proceeds from Outer Continental Shelf leasing and production. The Mineral Leasing Act has similar provisions for onshore oil and gas development. These laws affirm Congress’s intent to responsibly use our own resources as a means of achieving energy independence.
- These leases allow America to reach its full energy-production potential. For the states specifically, they also provide significant environmental benefits because portions of the lease proceeds are invested into vital State environmental defense and restoration projects. In fact, each year the federal government returns billions of dollars to the States and environmental reclamation projects from OCSLA and MLA lease proceeds for critical environmental restoration and protection projects.
- The Biden Ban purports to protect the environment, but instead it constitutes what is likely the single-largest divestment of revenue for environmental protection projects in American history. Making matters worse, the agencies implementing the Order – the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and Bureau of Land Management – rushed to stop long-planned lease sales without any consideration whether the Biden Ban complies with the law, the public good, or the procedural requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act.