Judge Issues Permanent Injunction on Biden Oil and Gas Leasing Pause in 13 States

A Louisiana federal judge issued a permanent injunction in a case contesting the Biden administration’s ending oil and gas leases on federal land.

U.S. District Judge for the Western District of Louisiana Terry Doughty said President Joe Biden’s January 27, 2021 Executive Order went too far. The EO, which banned all new oil and natural gas leases on federal lands and offshore waters went too far, he ruled.

The Epoch Times further reported:

The injunction applies to the 13 states that sued the Biden administration over the moratorium in March 2021, including Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, and West Virginia.

Doughty issued a temporary injunction back in June 2022 in this case. The injunction was overthrown by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday.

Doughty’s permanent injunction came a day after the circuit court’s ruling.

In the permanent injunction, Doughty ruled that the executive branch has no authority to change both laws.

Both statutes require Government Defendants’ agencies to sell oil and gas leases. The OCSLA has a Five-Year Plan in effect that requires eligible leases to be sold. Government Defendants’ agencies have no authority to make significant revisions in the OCSLA Five-Year Plan without going through the procedure mandated by Congress. The MLA requires the DOI to hold lease sales, where eligible lands are available at least quarterly,” he wrote in the ruling (pdf). “By stopping the process, the agencies are in effect amending two Congressional statutes. Neither the OCSLA nor the MLA gives the Government Defendants’ agencies the authority to implement a Stop of lease sales.”

Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen applauded the permanent injunction.

“President Biden’s executive order to choke off energy development didn’t just increase prices and hurt American families—it was flatly illegal. This decision is a victory for the rule of law and the workers and the rural communities who depend on the energy industry,” he said in a statement.

An ongoing lease moratorium would have lowered employment by 210 jobs, reduced personal income by $13 million, and cost $4 million in oil and gas taxes in Montana in 2021, he said citing a December 2020 study conducted by the University of Wyoming.

In a related matter,  Lease Sale 257, which was part of the multiple-state lawsuit was revived by President Biden by including it in the so-called “Inflation Reduction Act”.