By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
The state of Wyoming filed a lawsuit Wednesday challenging the moratorium on oil and gas leasing on federal land issued by President Joe Biden earlier this year.
The suit asserts that Secretary of Interior Deb Haaland’s implementation of the leasing moratorium is invalid under federal law.
“Following a careful review of not only the President’s Executive Order, but its practical effect, it is necessary for Wyoming to protect its citizens and challenge the Secretary’s action,” Gov. Mark Gordon said. “Not only is this federal action overreaching, it was implemented without public input as required under federal law.”
The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court of Wyoming alleges that the administration’s action violates the National Environmental Policy Act, the Administrative Procedure Act, the Mineral Leasing Act and the Federal Land Policy Management Act.
The lawsuit asks the court to set aside Haaland’s action and require the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to resume quarterly oil and gas lease sales, which have been suspended since the order was signed.
Gordon emphasized that Biden’s de-facto ban on oil and gas leasing will not meet the climate goals of the administration, as production will simply shift to other countries with less stringent emissions standards.
“The world will continue to need and use oil and gas for the foreseeable future,” Gordon said. “The question is whether it will be produced under the environmental safeguards in place on federal lands in Wyoming, or overseas without equally stringent regulations.”
A recent economic study indicated that a moratorium on oil and gas development on federal land will cost the state thousands of jobs and millions of dollars of state revenue.
Gordon said he anticipated other states will consider intervening after Wyoming’s action is filed.
Wyoming recently also joined a multi-state lawsuit in an attempt to block Biden’s ban of the Keystone XL Pipeline.
Once the Keystone pipeline was completed, the project was expected to help free up pipeline space in Wyoming, increasing oil export capacity. The project is projected to create 42,100 jobs with $2 billion in associated earnings throughout the United States.
Biden on Jan. 20 issued an executive order revoking the permits for the pipeline.