January 28, 2021
The Biden administration was hit with an immediate lawsuit Wednesday over its decision to halt oil and gas leasing on federal lands and waters.
The Western Energy Alliance, a group representing fossil fuel producers active on federal lands, sued in the U.S. District Court for the District of Wyoming, alleging President Biden exceeded presidential authority.
Kathleen Sgamma, president of the Alliance, described Biden’s action as a “ban,” despite his administration describing the order as a temporary moratorium on leasing while the administration reviews how to better balance oil and gas with developing renewables on federal lands and waters.
The administration did not provide a timeline for when the pause would end.
“The law is clear. Presidents don’t have the authority to ban leasing on public lands. All Americans own the oil and natural gas beneath public lands, and Congress has directed them to be responsibly developed on their behalf,” Sgamma said.