Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry told Breitbart News that a federal judge’s decision on Tuesday reversing President Joe Biden’s pause on leasing public lands and waters for oil and gas operations is “great news for America.”
“I think it’s great news for America,” Landry said. “Because what it shows is that this president absolutely continues to step outside of his constitutional authority.”
Landry said Biden’s move to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline and prevent the construction of other pipelines is not only costing states billions of dollars in royalty fees but is killing thousands of American jobs.
Landry said Biden “is insistent upon breaking the law in order to crush the middle class and the poor.”
Louisiana is the lead state in a coalition of 12 states that sued Biden. Federal judge Terry Doughty, a former President Donald Trump appointee, issued a preliminary injunction that requires DOI to reinstate oil and gas leases.
The order states that the Interior and the United States Bureau of Ocean Energy Management “are hereby enjoined and restrained from implementing the pause of new oil and natural gas leases on public lands or in offshore waters.”
Despite critics of the judge’s decision who want to banish fossil fuels in the name of climate change, Landry told Breitbart News that oil and gas operations actually are environmentally beneficial.
“Here in Louisiana, the share of royalty money that Louisiana receives from offshore leases, goes directly to environmental projects [such as] coastal restoration,” Landry said. “And so while they claim to want to protect the environment, all they’re doing is actually harming the environment.”
“The oil and gas industry in the United States has shown that they can walk and chew gum,” Landry said. “And they can, they can be good stewards of the environment while producing clean, affordable, reliable energy for the American economy.”
Landry cited Biden’s hypocrisy for supporting a pipeline from Russia to Germany while hampering domestic oil and gas production and threatening U.S hard-fought-for energy independence.
The American Petroleum Institute, the largest oil and gas trade organization, agrees and released a statement on the issue in the wake of Biden’s meeting in Geneva with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“Unfortunately, at a time Russia is flexing its regional energy influence, the Biden administration’s early moves on domestic energy production and energy infrastructure, are undermining U.S. energy strength, leadership, and global influence,” Frank Macchiarola, senior Vice President of Policy, Economics and Regulatory Affairs at API, said.
“The last thing the U.S. needs is to try to deal with Russia while it is at the same time actively weakening its own energy position,” Macchiarola said. “It is an unforced error, an opening that cannot be handed over to formidable adversaries such as Mr. Putin.”
“The federal leasing pause is harmful to our nation’s national security, environmental progress, and economic recovery,” API Vice President of Upstream Policy Kevin O’Scannlain said. “We are pleased to see the court ruling that natural gas and oil leasing must resume on federal lands and waters, and we urge the administration to move expeditiously to follow the court’s order and lift the federal leasing pause.”
“Now is the time for the administration to put an end to this ‘import more oil’ policy that threatens American jobs and deprives state and local communities of much-needed revenue, all while likely increasing emissions and the risks of climate change,” O’Scannlain said.
At least one lawmaker supports the judge’s decision.
“Judge Terry Doughty sees the Biden ban on oil and gas leases for what it is: an unconstitutional overreach that willfully ignores Article I of the Constitution,” Sen. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) said in a statement. “Congress created numerous laws requiring mineral and energy leasing, and the president cannot ignore them when he feels like it. Congress should not sit idly by as this lawsuit makes its way through the courts.”
Lummis also made a pitch for legislation to protect states from federal energy restrictions.
“We should pass the POWER Act to protect the economies of states like Wyoming that rely on energy leases to educate our kids, create jobs, and support our local communities,” Lummis said.
Reuters reported that the order means oil and gas production on public lands will continue while legal challenges work their way through the courts.
The case is Louisiana v. Joseph R. Biden Jr., Case 2:21-CV-00778 in the United States District Court Western District of Louisiana Lake Charles Division.