By TFPP Wire
A federal judge in Louisiana on Tuesday blocked the Biden administration’s pause on oil and gas leasing on public lands and waters, dealing a setback to a key White House effort to address climate change.
The order granted a preliminary injunction to Louisiana and 12 other states that sued Democratic President Joe Biden and the Interior Department over the freeze on new drilling auctions. Louisiana is a major hub for offshore oil and gas production.
Biden paused the government’s leasing auctions in January pending a review that is expected to be completed in the coming weeks. The move was part of a sweeping plan to rein in fossil-fuel extraction and combat the effects of climate change.
Great news for Louisiana energy workers and their families!https://t.co/LIrYtbcYjP
— John Kennedy (@SenJohnKennedy) June 16, 2021
The judge’s decision, which applies to onshore and offshore leasing nationwide, will remain in effect pending the final resolution of the case or orders from higher courts, according to a court document.
In the ruling, Judge Terry Doughty of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana said the states had met the requirements to establish that they would suffer injury from the pause on new oil and gas leases.
“Millions and possibly billions of dollars are at stake,” Doughty wrote.
— Joel Pollak (@joelpollak) June 15, 2021
He also said the states had a “substantial likelihood of success” with their lawsuit.
In a statement, an Interior Department spokesperson said the agency’s upcoming report “will include initial findings on the state of the federal conventional energy programs, as well as outline next steps and recommendations for the Department and Congress to improve stewardship of public lands and waters, create jobs, and build a just and equitable energy future.”
The attorneys general of both Louisiana and West Virginia praised the decision. Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry called it “a victory not only for the rule of law but also for the thousands of workers who produce affordable energy for Americans.”
The states joining Louisiana’s lawsuit were Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah and West Virginia. All have Republican attorneys general. Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards is a Democrat.
One other state, Wyoming, has filed its own lawsuit challenging the leasing pause.