By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily
Members of Wyoming’s congressional delegation have introduced legislation aimed at stopping the Biden administration’s efforts to halt mineral leasing on federal land.
U.S. Sen. Cynthia Lummis and U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney, have both introduced legislation that would require congressional approval for any executive branch effort to stop energy or mineral leasing and permitting on federal land.
Lummis’ bill, co-sponsored by U.S. Sen. John Barrasso and 24 other members of the Senate, is called the “Protecting Our Wealth of Energy Resources Act” and would require congressional approval for mineral and energy leases on federal land.
Cheney actually introduced two bills, one dealing with oil and gas leases and the second with coal leases. Both would require a joint resolution from Congress to approve any moratorium on leasing on federal land.
Cheney’s bill on oil and gas leases is co-sponsored by 21 other representatives, while her bill on coal leases is co-sponsored by 14 others.
The bills were introduced in response to President Joe Biden’s executive order on Wednesday halting all mineral leases on federal land until the Department of Interior can conduct a thorough review of federal leasing programs.
“The Biden Ban would be nothing short of catastrophic for western states that are already reeling from the decline in energy usage brought on by the pandemic and continued volatility in energy markets,” Lummis said in a statement. “Through the POWER Act, Congress would reiterate that federal lands should serve not the whims of a radical progressive minority, but the needs of all Americans.”
“The executive actions from the Biden Administration banning new leasing and permitting on federal land endanger our economy and threaten our national security,” Cheney said. “The legislation I am introducing today would safeguard against these damaging orders, and prevent the job loss, higher energy costs, and loss of revenue that promises to come with them.”
Gov. Mark Gordon expressed support for all three measures, citing the economic impacts of a long-term moratorium on mineral leases on federal lands.
“Oil and gas industries across the West are hit hard by the Biden administration’s executive action — eight western states … could lose $8 billion in (gross domestic product) and over $2 billion in tax revenue per year,” he said. “This is a bipartisan issue.“
Since federal laws provide for the leasing of fossil fuels and minerals, it is appropriate that Congress would have to agree to such a departure from the intent of federal law,” he continued. “It is disappointing that such a law is necessary, but it is.”