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Federal judge halts Biden administration's pause on oil and gas drilling leases

U.S. Western District Courthouse
Posted at 8:47 PM, Jun 15, 2021

A federal judge in Louisiana has granted a preliminary injunction that stops implementation of the Biden administration's pause on drilling permits on federal lands.

The president signed an executive order earlier this year to pause new leases for oil and gas drilling on federal land and water.

Last week, U.S. District Judge Terry Doughty heard arguments from 13 states, including Louisiana, who are suing over the moratorium as well as the Department of Justice and environmental groups who support it.

Tuesday, Doughty issued his stay. In it, the judge orders that the pause can't be implemented until the lawsuit is resolved, or until an appeals court lifts it.

To read about the hearing, click here.

Louisiana's lawyers argued that the president's orders have created a graveyard in the Gulf of Mexico.

During the hearing, attorneys for the Department of Justice denied that claim, saying lease sales continue in the Gulf and on land.

Only seven sales were paused in the first quarter following the executive order, each for a different decision. The DOJ say the pause was to conduct environmental impact reviews, not to stop the new leases.

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry argues the executive order is causing economic loss for Louisiana but the DOJ disagrees.

Landry issued the following statement regarding the preliminary injunction:

This is a victory not only for the rule of law, but also for the thousands of workers who produce affordable energy for Americans. We appreciate that federal courts have recognized President Biden is completely outside his authority in his attempt to shut down oil and gas leases on federal lands.

Senator Bill Cassidy released a statement as well:

This is fantastic news for workers in Louisiana whose livelihoods are being threatened by the administration's thoughtless energy policy," said Dr. Cassidy. "The president should not be able to take away tens of thousands of jobs to fulfill a campaign promise. We need a long-term, all-of-the-above strategy that does not pick winners and losers. The Department of the Interior should immediately begin moving forward with another offshore lease sale.