House, Senate introduce bills blocking Biden energy ban
WASHINGTON — Both the House and Senate introduced bills on Thursday designed to prevent moratoriums on federal oil and gas drilling, mineral leasing, and permitting without Congressional approval. The move comes after President Biden’s announcement last Thursday halting all oil and gas leases and drilling permits for 60 days. He followed up this pause with the issuance of executive orders to cut oil, gas and coal emissions and double energy production from offshore wind turbines on Wednesday.
Wyoming Senator Cynthia Lummis, along with a quarter of the Senate, introduced the Protecting our Wealth of Energy Resources (POWER) Act. This legislation would prevent the president or his secretaries of Interior, Agriculture, and Energy from blocking energy or mineral leasing and permitting on federal lands and waters without prior Congressional approval.
“The Biden Ban would be nothing short of catastrophic for western states that are already reeling from the decline in energy usage brought on by the pandemic and continued volatility in energy markets. It’s a one-two punch that means disaster for energy jobs, families and communities,” Sen. Lummis said. “Through the POWER Act, Congress would reiterate that federal lands should serve not the whims of a radical progressive minority, but the needs of all Americans.”
The House introduced similar legislation, sponsored by Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney and nearly two dozen Representatives nationwide. The bills, The Safeguarding Oil and Gas Leasing and Permitting Act and The Safeguarding Coal Leasing Act, would prohibit any moratorium on federal oil and gas leasing or permitting or coal leasing unless a joint resolution of approval was enacted by Congress within 30 legislative days.
Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon, the Petroleum Association of Wyoming, Independent Petroleum Association of America, and Wyoming Mining Association Executive Director all gave statements endorsing both pieces of legislation.
“Oil and gas industries across the West are hit hard by the Biden administration’s executive action– eight Western states (Alaska, California, Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Utah and Wyoming) could lose eight-billion dollars in GDP and over two-billion dollars in tax revenue per year. This is a bipartisan issue. I thank Congresswoman Cheney for taking it on,” Gov. Gordon said.
During his announcement of the moratorium on Wednesday, President Biden said, “we can’t wait any longer” to address the climate crisis. It’s a major political risk for Biden and Democrats, as oil- and coal-producing states face job losses from moves to sharply increase U.S. reliance on clean energy.