In Louisiana, a federal judge has just blocked the suspension of new oil and gas leases for use on federal land, which had been initiated by the Biden administration. The judge cited the administration’s complete absence of a “rational explanation” for the arbitrary ban, particularly since it did not follow the law when implementing this ban.
Judge Terry Doughty, who serves on the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, released a preliminary injunction earlier in the week that blocked the Biden administration from the ability to enforce the moratorium on new leases. Doughty noted that this suspension constituted a violation of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, as well as the Mineral Leasing Act, which were both laws created to work towards the federal government’s objective of securing energy independence through using American resources.
The judge’s decision emerges as a component of a lawsuit filed by 13 different GOP attorneys general, who claimed that Biden had issued the suspension unlawfully.
In addition, Doughty also stated that his order is applicable “nationwide,” remaining in effect until the full resolution of the case, which may include appeals upwards to higher courts. Doughty also emphasized that the decision would have a profound impact on numerous American workers.
Observing that “millions,” or potentially “billions of dollars … at stake,” the judge observed that funds for local government, monies for the restoration of the state’s coastline, and creating jobs for Plaintiff State workers, are all vested stakeholders that “have a reliance interest in the proceeds derived from offshore and on land oil and gas lease sales.”
The judge also added that the suspension should be struck down as it provides zero logic with regards to the justification for the cancellation of lease sales. Moreover, through “enacting the pause,” the federal government has already taken actions that run “contrary to law.”
The Interior Department responded to the decision by noting it will review Doughty’s opinion and “will comply with the decision.”
The moratorium was part of Biden’s first series of executive orders, or orders signed during his first week in office. Biden claimed that the suspension was motivated by the desire to fight back against climate change.
However, Doughty’s ruling is a serious setback for the Biden administration, who were rapidly shepherding the nation away from fossil fuel usage, which purportedly releases levels of carbon dioxide that are harmful to the environment.
Jeff Landry, the Louisiana AG, stated that Doughty’s decision constitutes a major victory “for thousands of workers who produce affordable energy for Americans,” as well as “for the rule of law.”
Landry also indicated appreciation for the federal courts’ recognition of Biden’s overstepping the boundaries of his legal authorities, namely “in his attempt to shut down oil and gas leases on federal lands.”