LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) – The state of Louisiana is leading the challenge against the Biden administration’s ban, or “pause”, on land lease sales for the oil and gas industry.
“You can’t turn the oil and gas industry on and off like a light switch,” said Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry.
Land leasing is like a finely tuned machine. The plaintiffs argue the president’s order is like gluing up the gears, so the machine doesn’t work. They’re asking a federal judge for a temporary injunction, and they argue jobs, tax revenue, and the future of the industry are at stake.
“The liberals in Washington, D.C. and in the Biden administration completely understand anytime they disrupt the oil and gas industry they disrupt our way of life,” said Landry.
During arguments in front of Federal Judge Terry Doughty, Scott St. John, Louisiana’s deputy solicitor general, said there have been no oil and gas leases since the president took office. He said the Biden is fulfilling a campaign promise that there will be no more drilling on federal lands, in an attempt to deal with the climate change.
The plaintiffs argue the president does not have the authority, only Congress does. They say the consequences of his executive order will destroy the fossil fuels industry.
However, Michael Sawyer, an attorney for the Department of Justice, argued leasing has not been paused. He said all lease requests on a case by case basis. He also revealed that a majority of the land leased in Louisiana, on shore and off shore, is not producing any oil or gas.
The government argued there are no irreparable impacts from the Department of Interior reviewing the leasing process.
Louisiana Solicitor General Liz Murrill, a Lafayette native, knows how important the oil and gas industry is to aAcadiana.
“We’re hoping the judge grants a preliminary injunction and force the government to go back to enforcing the law,” said Murrill.
It will be up to Judge Doughty to grant the temporary injunction or allow the Biden policy to continue.