Energy & Environment

14 states sue Biden administration over leasing pause for public lands drilling


Fourteen states led by Republican attorneys general sued the Biden administration over its decision to pause the issuance of new leases on public lands and waters for oil and gas drilling. 

A group of 13 states, spearheaded by Louisiana, filed one suit on Wednesday while Wyoming separately filed its own lawsuit. 

The lawsuits ask the court to throw out the pause on new leasing that came as a result of an executive order from President Biden.

The temporary pause, which has no end date, was issued pending “completion of a comprehensive review and reconsideration of Federal oil and gas permitting and leasing practices.”

In their suit, the states argue that the moratorium causes unreasonable delays, failed to comply with notice and comment requirements, and is arbitrary and capricious. 

“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,” Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry (R) said in a statement. 

Large coalitions of Republicans have also sued over other Biden environmental actions, such as its social cost of carbon calculation and revocation of a permit for the Keystone XL pipeline.

When he announced the pause, Biden said, “We’re going to review and reset the oil and gas leasing program.”

“We’re going to start to properly manage lands and waterways,” he added. 

And in defense of the moratorium, the administration has said that many parcels of land that are currently leased — 53 percent onshore and 77 percent offshore — aren’t currently being used to produce fuel. 

Meanwhile, the Energy Information Administration determined that the temporary pause will have “no effects” until 2022. 

It predicted that after 2022, it will cause a dip of less than 100,000 barrels of crude oil per day out of about 11 million the country was producing per day in 2018. 

While on the campaign trail, Biden pledged to ban new permits for drilling on public lands and waters, though he has not yet done so, as new permits continue to be approved on existing oil and gas leases.

Tags Drilling Environmental policy of the Joe Biden administration Joe Biden public lands drilling

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