A federal U.S. judge temporarily blocked President Joe Biden from banning new oil and gas leases for drilling on federal land Tuesday. Judge decision came some months after many Republican-controlled states sued the Biden government over a policy Biden cast as an environmental protection move – but several Republican leaders viewed it as economically disruptive.
In an initial ban issued Tuesday afternoon, Terry Doughty, the Louisiana-based judge, paused an executive order of the president signed in January 2021 that temporarily paused all new oil and gas leases for drilling on federal land and offshore waters. Attorney-generals of the Republican party in fourteen states – including the oil-producing hubs of Louisiana and Texas – sued President Biden over the executive order in March.
The judge suggested the Biden government does not have the legal authority to ban all federal oil and gas leases countrywide and said the new policy of the government might not follow federal actions for changing the regulations of the administration. An Interior Department spokesman told Forbes that the agency would obey the ruling.
Jeff Landry, the Louisiana Attorney General, stated on Tuesday that the judgment is not only a victory for the rule of law but also for several workers who produce inexpensive energy for the nationals. Moreover, Randi Spivak from the Center for Biological Diversity stated that the order of the court turns a blind eye to delinquent climate pollution that is devasting the Earth.
Biden Previously Ordered to Stop Issuing New Leases Temporarily
The Interior Department of the United States normally auctions off property to oil and gas drillers and send billions of dollars into federal reserves yearly. Around one week after his oath earlier this year, president Biden ordered the federal department to temporarily halt issuing new leases till it concludes a review of their environmental impact.
Environmental groups welcomed the move of the Biden government to reverse or slow down the issuance of new oil and gas leases, but the Republican party argues the halt could harm economies of oil-producing states and lead to higher prices by limiting supply. A spokesperson said that the Interior Department says it is still working to finalize a report looking into federal energy programs.
Republican-led states repetitively fought legally in court to stop some of the policies of Biden. In January, a federal judge blocked the president from pausing deportations for a hundred days after Texas state filed a lawsuit. In addition, several states are currently suing over the decision of the U.S. president to withdraw permits for the Keystone XL pipeline.
Likewise, Ohio State is taking legal action over restrictions on how local and state governments can spend the relief budget allocated by the March COVID-19 relief bill. It is not a new strategy: Democratic-led states such as California many times sued the Trump government, and Texas for dozens of times sued former U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration.
United States Senator Bill Cassidy states that it is a piece of fantastic news for workers in Louisiana because the government’s thoughtless energy policy threatened their livelihoods. However, everyone was supportive of the decision of the judge.