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Louisiana Says No To Biden’s Pause On New Oil & Gas Leases

President Biden suspended new oil and gas leases on federal land and water but U.S. District Judge Terry Doughty (LA) blocked the suspension. The judge also ordered that the delayed plans for lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska be resumed.

The ruling came in a lawsuit that was filed back in March by Louisiana’s attorney general, Jeff Landry (R), along with officials from 12 other states. The new ruling grants a preliminary injunction to those states and the judge said his order applies nationwide, The Advocate reported.

The idea that 250,000 Louisianans would lose their jobs if Biden didn’t end the pause on oil and gas leases was prevalent. Last month before the judge made his ruling. Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards asked Congress on behalf of the oil and gas industry to lift the pause on oil and gas leasing in the Gulf of Mexico. I say on behalf of the oil and gas industry because HuffPost found email templates from an industry lobbying group The Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil & Gas Association (LMOGA). The group actually helped ghostwrite a letter for the governor to send to President Biden while also providing him with industry talking points. You can read more about that here.

The Advocate noted that Landry and the supporters of the lawsuit claimed that the moratorium, which was imposed after President Biden signed executive orders to fight climate change, had already driven up prices and endangered energy jobs — yet Biden’s suspension didn’t stop companies from drilling on existing leases.

“No existing lease has been canceled as a result of any of the actions challenged here, and development activity from exploration through drilling and production has continued at similar levels as the preceding four years,” the lawyers for the administration pointed out during briefs.

Having spoken to a few folks at the state capitol building a couple of weeks ago, I understand just how deeply intense the fear that the oil and gas industry has programmed in their minds is. I had one security member tell me that if we do away with oil and gas, no one would have jobs. And yes, I could see the terror at that thought in his eyes.

The Advocate echoed this as well, stating that a long-term halt to oil and gas sales would curb future production and hurt our state, which is heavily dependent on that industry and more than willing to block out the horrendous effects of global warming that many Louisianans face. In essence, Louisiana is held captive by this monster industry.

The lawsuit stated that coastal states receive significant revenue from both onshore and offshore oil and gas activity. It also stated that stopping leases would diminish revenue that pays for Louisiana efforts to restore coastal wetlands, raises energy costs, and leads to major job losses in oil-producing states. These are myths and scare tactics, since Biden was only stopping new leases, not all leases, yet the judge agreed to the FUD he was fed.

I agree with Amanda Lefton, the director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. When the governor went to Congress, she explained that the pause is limited to leasing and doesn’t affect the production or permit applications for existing leases.

“There is continued production in the Gulf of Mexico and, therefore, there’s continued revenue that’s coming in,” she said.

Lefton explained that the pause on new leases didn’t have much to do with recent job losses. “We’re actually seeing a decline of jobs in the oil and gas industry over the years, in the past four years in particular,” she said. “I think it’s really important to think about what our opportunities are moving forward, and Gov. Edwards just spoke to one of those, which is how can we help transition communities to support new and growing industries like offshore wind.”


I’m honestly not surprised. Louisiana is an oil state and is the second largest producer in the nation, one of the top five states in both natural gas and oil production. We have 17 oil refineries that process around 3.4 million barrels of crude oil daily. With such a huge presence here, it’s no wonder that some of our politicians are sellouts to the oil industry.

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