Federal Court sides with states (including Oklahoma) challenging President Biden’s attempt to disrupt energy industry
Published: June 16th, 2021
CapitolBeatOK Staff Report
Lake Charles, Louisiana – A federal judge in Louisiana has sided with a group of states, including Oklahoma, who have challenged President Joe Biden’s attempt to disrupt America’s energy industry through an executive order.
Judge Terry Doughty has issued a preliminary injunction, blocking the Biden administration’s effort to halt the sale of new oil and gas leases on federal land and offshore wells.
In his ruling, Judge Doughty said the states challenging the moratorium demonstrated that it is likely unlawful and poses a substantial threat of irreparable injury by jeopardizing millions, possibly billions, of dollars of economic activity.
Oklahoma Solicitor General Mithun Mansinghani, who represents Oklahoma in the litigation, applauded the judge’s action.
“This ruling is a victory for the rule of law, for Oklahoma, and for the energy industry,” Mansinghani said.
“This year, the Oklahoma Legislature directed our office to monitor and challenge unlawful federal actions, including executive orders like this one. Oklahoma can ill afford to have a president attack its main industry by executive fiat. Oklahoma energy companies operate on federal lands throughout the country. This executive order is not only unlawful, but also threatens state revenue, may further raise energy and gas prices, and harms the hard-working men and women whose livelihoods depend on these quality jobs.”
The judge also agreed with Oklahoma and 12 other states’ position that the president’s executive action on this matter needs congressional approval.
“The agencies could cancel or suspend a lease sale due to problems with that specific lease,” the judge wrote, “but not as to eligible lands for no reason other than to do a comprehensive review pursuant to Executive Order 14008. Although there is certainly nothing wrong with performing a comprehensive review, there is a problem in ignoring acts of Congress while the review is being completed.”
The group of 13 states filed the lawsuit in March.
According to the lawsuit, the current rules and regulations surrounding leasing activities on public lands and offshore waters that President Biden’s administration unlawfully halted were approved in 2016 by the then-President Obama’s and then-Vice President Biden’s administration. To read the ruling, go here (https://bit.ly/3gBD0Vv.).