Attorney General Lynn Fitch joined 13 other state attorneys general in filing suit today to block the Biden-Harris Administration’s Executive Order violating the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA) and the Mineral Leasing Act (MLA). U.S. Senator Roger Wicker cited in a recent column on the Biden Administration’s actions on energy, “these offshore projects support 20,000 Mississippi jobs.”
“President Biden’s attack on American energy puts our domestic energy supply at risk, drives up energy costs, threatens conservation and hurricane protection efforts, and locks thousands of Americans out of the workforce,” said Attorney General Lynn Fitch. “My colleagues and I are pushing back on this Presidential power grab to protect American jobs, guard our Nation’s energy independence, and support economic growth.”
In January, President Biden issued Executive Order 14008, declaring a moratorium on future oil and gas leasing and drilling permits on federal lands. The Biden Executive Order halted all oil and gas leasing operations, days after the Interior Department halted development and exploration of existing leases. Together, these actions make up the Biden Ban – an aggressive, reckless abuse of Presidential power that threatens American families’ livelihoods and national security.
The lawsuit states, “The Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act and Mineral Leasing Act set out specific statutory duties requiring executive agencies to further the expeditious and safe development of the abundant energy. In compliance with those statutes, the Department of the Interior has for decades issued leases for the development of oil and natural gas on public lands and offshore waters.”
These leases allow America to reach its full energy-production potential. For the states specifically, they also provide significant environmental benefits because portions of the lease proceeds are invested into vital State environmental defense and restoration projects. In fact, each year the federal government returns billions of dollars to the States and environmental reclamation projects from OCSLA and MLA lease proceeds for critical environmental restoration and protection projects.
The Biden Ban claims to protect the environment, but instead it constitutes what is likely the single-largest divestment of revenue for environmental protection projects in American history. Making matters worse, the agencies implementing the Order – the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and Bureau of Land Management – rushed to stop long-planned lease sales without any consideration whether the Biden Ban complies with the law, the public good, or the procedural requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act.
In addition to Mississippi, the following states joined in the lawsuit filed this morning in the United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, West Virginia. The Attorney General of Wyoming filed separately.