By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
Wyoming Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow on Monday harshly criticized President Joe Biden’s moratorium on oil and gas leasing on federal lands as a threat to Wyoming’s schools.
Speaking with host Fox News Dana Perino, Balow compared Biden’s actions to restrict oil and gas production to those taken by former President Barack Obama (whose administration Biden served as vice president) during his time in office.
“This is a different kind of lockdown that we’re talking about,” Balow said. “This is a lockdown of an industry that our students in Wyoming really depend on. Day seven of President Biden’s presidency, we would see a near shutdown of the industry that we rely on for public education.”
Oil and natural gas production provide about $740 million in funding for Wyoming’s public schools, Balow said.
Biden issued an executive order last week halting new oil and gas leasing on federal land to allow the Department of Interior to conduct a comprehensive review of the federal leasing program and existing fossil fuel leases.
Balow called the executive order “arbitrary” and said Biden was targeting a few states in the Mountain West that have both a wealth of federal land and resources.
“This is significant,” she said. “What we know in Wyoming is that this could be, by modest estimates, about $150 million a year in lost revenue within just a couple of years.”
U.S. Sen. John Barrasso retweeted the clip of Balow’s appearance on Monday, agreeing that the moratorium would have a significant impact on Wyoming’s schools.
“This morning, WY State Superintendent @jillian4supt discussed on @FoxNews how @POTUS’ energy lockdown is detrimental to WY schools. Revenues from WY oil & gas contribute about $740 million to WY public education. This will have a significant negative impact on kids in our state,” he said.
Other orders signed by Biden in his first days in office included one for the U.S. to rejoin the Paris Climate Accord.