Story at a glance

  • Biden earlier this year issued an executive order pausing all new leases on public lands and waters pending a comprehensive review.
  • A lawsuit was filed in March by Louisiana Republican Attorney General Jeff Landry and officials in a dozen other states, arguing the delay of new leasing hurts states dependent on oil and gas drilling and drives up energy prices.
  • The judge’s decision lifts Biden’s moratorium of new oil and gas permits while the litigation continues.

The Biden administration’s suspension of new oil and gas leases on federal lands and waters has been temporarily blocked by a federal judge in Louisiana. 

In January, President Biden issued an executive order that instructed the Department of Interior to “pause” all new leases on public lands and waters pending a comprehensive review of the program. 


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The move was part of Biden’s broader push to curb climate change and kick off the transition to a clean-energy economy.

A lawsuit was filed in March by Louisiana Republican Attorney General Jeff Landry and officials in a dozen other states, arguing the delay of new leasing hurts states dependent on oil and gas drilling and drives up energy prices. 

On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Terry Doughty granted a preliminary injunction that lifts Biden’s moratorium of new oil and gas permits while the litigation continues. 

“Millions and possibly billions of dollars are at stake. Local government funding, jobs for Plaintiff State workers, and funds for the restoration of Louisiana’s Coastline are at stake,” Doughty wrote


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“The omission of any rational explanation in cancelling the lease sales, and in enacting the Pause, results in this Court ruling that Plaintiff States also have a substantial likelihood of success on the merits of this claim,” he wrote. 

The ruling requires the Interior to immediately restart its leasing program. The agency said it’s reviewing the ruling and will comply, according to The Associated Press.

The Interior Department did not immediately respond to Changing America’s request for comment. 


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Published on Jun 16, 2021