Judge Blocks Joe Biden’s Latest Oil and Gas Leasing Pause in 13 States

Judge Blocks Joe Biden's Latest Oil and Gas Leasing Pause in 13 States

Judge BLOCKS Joe Biden’s Latest Gas and Oil Power Grab!

(RightWing.org) – During President Joe Biden’s first days in office, he followed through on a campaign promise to begin the process of eliminating fossil fuel consumption. On January 27, 2021 he signed an executive order (EO) suspending new oil and gas leases on federal lands and waterways. Thirteen states sued to block the president’s actions, and ultimately they appear to be prevailing in court.

Recently, US District Judge Terry Doughty ruled the administration overreached with the ban. He agreed with the states that the lease prohibition violated the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA) and the Mineral Leasing Act (MLA). In June, he placed a temporary injunction against the EO, saying they would likely win on the merits. On Wednesday, August 17, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals overruled him. The following day, Judge Doughty placed a permanent injunction saying the government had no authority to change the law.

Court Places Permanent Injunction Against Biden Administration

The 5th Circuit initially blocked the temporary injunction saying Doughty’s order lacked specificity. He revised it to state the Department of the Interior (DOI) broke the law when it canceled the onshore and offshore oil and gas leases on federal lands. The OCSLA and MLA require the government to sell the leases. Doughty said Biden did not have the right to stop fossil fuel production, clarifying that only Congress had the authority to act. He argued that the DOI got the cart before the horse.

The court sided with Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, and West Virginia; the ruling only applies to those states.

After the decision, Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen said the EO cut off energy development and supplies. He noted that not only did it cause gas and electric prices to spike, but “it was flatly illegal.”

Important But Moot Point

The ruling is a reminder to the executive branch that its power is not unlimited. It must follow the law. If Biden doesn’t like the law, he can petition Congress to change it. Still, it may be partially moot. On Tuesday, August 16, the president signed the “Inflation and Reduction Act.”

The new law directs the administration to reinstate the largest offshore oil and gas lease in the nation’s history. It covers nearly 81 million acres of water in the Gulf of Mexico. Any other federal lands or waterways must now be re-opened according to the ruling in the respective states involved in the lawsuit.

It’s not hard to see why the GOP is applauding the judge’s verdict as a significant win for the law and American consumers.

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