Given all the immigration games played by federal judges on the orders issued by President Donald Trump, turnabout is fair play.
Last week, a federal judge in Louisiana ordered the resumption of oil and gas leases for the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska that the Biden administration blocked.
U.S. District Judge Terry Doughty’s ruling came in a lawsuit filed in March by Louisiana’s Republican attorney general, Jeff Landry and officials in 12 other states. Doughty’s ruling granting a preliminary injunction to those states said his order applies nationwide.
The 13 states said the administration bypassed comment periods and other bureaucratic steps required before such delays can be undertaken. Doughty heard arguments in the case last week in Lafayette.
The moratorium was imposed after Democratic President Joe Biden on Jan. 27 signed executive orders to fight climate change. The suit was filed in March. The states opposing the suspension said it was undertaken without the required comment periods and other bureaucratic steps.
Doughty’s decision was very harsh on the approach taken by Team Biden, accusing the Oval Office occupant of exceeding his powers.
Judge Terry A. Doughty of the United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana granted a preliminary injunction Tuesday against the administration, saying that the power to pause offshore oil and gas leases “lies solely with Congress” because it was the legislative branch that originally made federal lands and waters available for leasing.
Judge Doughty also ruled that 13 states that are suing the administration over its temporary halt to new leases “have made a showing that there is a substantial likelihood that President Biden exceeded his powers.”
Now, states are reviewing their next legal move in the wake of the decision. For example, Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon celebrated the ruling. He hopes the decision will benefit his state.
“This preliminary injunction is outstanding news for Wyoming and our energy workers. It confirms the position we have maintained since this ‘pause’ was implemented,” Gordon said.
“The Biden Administration has in fact put in place an unlawful, de-facto moratorium, causing economic harm to states like ours that rely on lease sale revenue to fund our schools and critical functions of government,” he added.
Wyoming is the nation’s top producer of onshore gas that takes place on federal lands, and second in the nation for its federal onshore oil production, according to the Bureau of Land Management.
Of the nearly 63 million acres in the state of Wyoming, oil and gas leases managed by the bureau accounted for 8.4 million acres of land from over 13,000 leases in recent years.
With Tuesday’s ruling, Gordon said he hopes a similar ruling will be issued in a case filed in the U.S. District Court of Wyoming.
Meanwhile, New Mexico industry leaders applauded the decision, noting they would get the biggest boost from the block on the ban.
In a statement from the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association (NMOGA), the state’s largest fossil fuel trade organization, the group said New Mexico was the nation’s largest producer of oil and gas on federal land and no state would see as negative an economic impact under the ban on new leases.
Even worse, NMOGA argued, the leasing pause could cause oil and gas companies to move production to other countries with less stringent environmental safeguards.
“As the nation’s largest onshore producer of oil and natural gas on federal lands, no state’s economy or budget stood to lose more as a result of the leasing pause,” read the statement.
“Leasing bans and other hurdles to oil and natural gas production in New Mexico weaken energy security, increase costs for consumers, and reward other parts of the world who do not share our strict environmental safeguards or our commitment to fight climate change.”
I will point out that, given all the immigration games played by federal judges on the orders issued by President Donald Trump, turnabout is fair play.
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