Federal Court Ruling Provides Glimmer of Hope for Energy Development
In a new ruling last week, a Louisiana federal judge ordered the Biden Administration’s ban on new oil and gas leases be lifted, renewing hope for development of energy resources on federal lands and creating a roadblock for one of President Biden’s key initiatives.
In the lawsuit, Louisiana was joined by Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah and West Virginia. In his ruling, Judge Terry Doughty explained:
Even though existing leases are proceeding, the fact that new oil and gas leases on federal lands and in federal waters are paused will ultimately result in losses to plaintiff states which they will likely not be able to recover.
The plaintiff states’ claims are substantial. 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. Plaintiff states have a reliance interest in the proceeds derived from offshore and on land oil and gas lease sales.
The Biden Administration has made it a top priority to restrict oil and gas extraction on public lands in order to decrease the nation’s carbon footprint. Around a quarter of the nation’s total produced petroleum comes from federal lands, and recent executive actions – such as the moratorium on oil and gas leasing – are hindering economic development in the name of environmentalism.
On June 1st, the Administration halted Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) leases for oil and natural gas extraction pending an environmental analysis. This meant that Alaska would be unable to access the natural resources and reap the economic benefits from the region, despite the many ways to safely extract oil and gas.
Alaska, with its vast amount of federal land, is just one example of a state with an ongoing battle over state sovereignty and federal lands. As the federal government plans to take control of more territory in the future with Biden’s 30 by 30 plan, states will have increasingly less power to properly utilize the resources of their lands. When policymakers fail to prioritize principles of sound federalism – the proper balance of power between the federal government and the 50 states – all Americans suffer the consequences.