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Federal Judge Blocks Biden’s Pause on Oil and Gas Leases

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U.S. District Judge Terry Doughty ruled against Biden’s move to stop oil and gas leasing on federal lands.

What We Know:

  • The stall was imposed after Biden signed several executive orders on January 27 to fight climate change. His Interior Department decided to pause new leases in order to review the program and determine whether extracting fossil fuels from federal land and water should continue. They held a public forum and stated an interim report would be released in the summer.
  • In a lawsuit filed in March, Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry and officials from 12 other states opposed the initiative. They argued that the delay in leasing would cost states revenue in rents and royalties. They also said the administration avoided necessary bureaucratic steps before such delays could be enacted.
  • Doughty, who was nominated in 2017 by President Trump, wrote in his ruling, “The omission of any rational explanation in canceling the lease sales, and in enacting the Pause, results in this court ruling that the Plaintiff States also have a substantial likelihood of success on the merits of this claim.” Revenue from oil and gas leases contributes heavily to the 13 states’ economy and job markets.
  • In response to the ruling, the Interior Department issued a statement that they will continue to “work on an interim report that will include initial findings on the state of the federal conventional energy programs, as well as outline next steps and recommendations for the Department and Congress to improve stewardship of public lands and waters, create jobs, and build a just and equitable energy future.”
  • A significant part of Biden’s platform was to transition the nation away from fossil fuels in an effort to stave off the worst effects of climate change. A federal report from 2018 found that close to one quarter of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions came from the extraction of fuels on federal lands.
  • Democrats largely support Biden’s climate initiatives, but this ban has put the administration under pressure by members of the party. New Mexico, one of the states involved in the lawsuit, relies on fossil fuel revenue to fund its public school system.

Environmentalists are not thrilled by this decision. Randi Spivak, public lands program director at the Center for Biological Diversity, responded to the ruling, “The judge’s order turns a blind eye to runaway climate pollution that’s devastating our planet.”

The post Federal Judge Blocks Biden’s Pause on Oil and Gas Leases appeared first on Black News Alerts.

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