Judge rules Biden leasing pause is illegal

WYOMING – A federal judge in Louisiana has struck down the Biden administration’s suspension on new oil and gas leases on federal lands.

U.S. District Judge Terry Doughty’s ruling stemmed from a lawsuit filed in March by a group of 13 state attorneys general. Doughty specified that his ruling applies nationwide, and it grants a preliminary injunction, a halt to the suspension pending further arguments on the merits of the case.

“The omission of any rational explanation in canceling the lease sales, and in enacting the pause, results in this Court ruling that plaintiff states also have a substantial likelihood of success on the merits of this claim,” the court wrote.

This ruling was rejoiced by Wyoming elected officials.

Sen. John Barrasso, a ranking member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, issued a statement following Judge Doughty’s ruling.

“President Biden’s ban on new oil and gas leases is illegal. This decision is a victory for the rule of law and American energy workers,” he said. “The president’s illegal ban has hurt workers and deprived Wyoming and other states of a principal source of revenue that they use for public education. President Biden should immediately rescind his punishing ban and let Americans get back to work.”

Gov. Mark Gordon also issued a statement, this one coming from his office last week.

“This preliminary injunction is outstanding news for Wyoming and our energy workers. It confirms the position we have maintained since this pause was implemented. The Biden administration has in fact put in place an unlawful, de-facto moratorium, causing economic harm to states like ours that rely on lease sale revenue to fund our schools and critical functions of government,” Gordon said. “We were not consulted prior to the moratorium taking effect, further underscoring the fact that this administration is operating off of an imbalanced and myopic approach to tackling climate change. We are hopeful that a similar ruling will be issued in the case filed in the District Court of Wyoming.”

The Biden administration issued a 60-day pause on new oil and gas leases on federal land earlier this year. That was later extended “indefinitely.” Wyoming was one of a dozen states to sue the Biden administration for that decision.