Louisiana AG leads 13-state lawsuit to overturn Biden oil and gas lease ban

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BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — President Joe Biden’s executive orders to tackle climate change are facing legal heat from Louisiana and 14 other states.

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry filed a lawsuit Wednesday to topple Biden’s moratorium, which has paused new oil and gas leases on public property since January.

“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,” Landry said Wednesday morning. “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.”

Biden’s Jan. 27 order to halt new leases marked the White House’s larger effort to cut greenhouse gas emissions and ween the economy off fossil fuels. Drilling on federal land contributes to nearly a quarter of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions — and billions of dollars in annual revenue.

Many of the states involved in the lawsuit rely heavily on oil and gas production. The 12 other states joining Louisiana in the lawsuit are Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah and West Virginia. (Another state, Wyoming, filed a separate lawsuit.)

“The world will continue to need and use oil and gas for the foreseeable future,” Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon said Wednesday. “The question is whether it will be produced under the environmental safeguards in place on federal lands in Wyoming, or overseas without equally stringent regulations.”

Biden’s moratorium does not stop companies from drilling oil and gas through existing leases.

“Oil and gas jobs aren’t going anywhere,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters Wednesday. “This will not affect job markets for the years to come.”

The U.S. Department of the Interior will host a virtual forum Thursday to discuss the future of its federal oil and gas leasing program.

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