Wyoming Files Lawsuit Challenging Biden Administration’s Federal Leasing Ban
Governor Mark Gordon has announced that the state of Wyoming filed a lawsuit on Tuesday, challenging the de-facto moratorium on oil and gas leasing on federal land that was issued by President Biden and Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland.
The suit alleges that Haaland’s implementation of the leasing moratorium contained in Executive Order 14008 is invalid under federal law.
“Following a careful review of not only the President's Executive Order, but its practical effect, it is necessary for Wyoming to protect its citizens and challenge the Secretary’s action,” Governor Gordon said. “Not only is this federal action overreaching, it was implemented without public input as required under federal law.”
Gordon stated that the lawsuit was filed in Federal District Court of Wyoming, and it alleges that the Biden Administration’s actions violates the National Environmental Policy Act, the Administrative Procedure Act, the Mineral Leasing Act and the Federal Land Policy Management Act.
Governor Gordon believes that the President’s de-facto ban on oil and gas leasing will not meet the climate goals of the Administration; it will just cause production to shift to other countries with less stringent emission and safety standards.
“The world will continue to need and use oil and gas for the foreseeable future,” Governor Gordon said. “The question is whether it will be produced under the environmental safeguards in place on federal lands in Wyoming, or overseas without equally stringent regulations.”
The complaint, which was filed in Federal court, alleges that “The Secretary’s de facto moratorium on federal oil and gas lease sales is patently unlawful and must be set aside. The moratorium: (1) is an unlawful mineral withdrawal under the Federal Land Policy and Management Act; (2) violates the applicable Resource Management Plans which have designated specific areas of the public lands as open to oil and gas leasing; (3) violates the Mineral Leasing Act and its implementing regulations requiring quarterly lease sales; (4) violates the Administrative Procedure Act; and (5) violates the National Environmental Policy Act by failing to consider the environmental impacts of suspending federal oil and gas leasing before taking that action.”
The lawsuit alleges that The National Environmental Policy Act requires federal agencies to “look before they leap, but here the Secretary did not pause to consider the many environmental and socioeconomic consequences of instituting this moratorium.”
“Simple belief that an action is good for the environment does not justify skipping the environmental review required by law,” it continues.
A copy of the full court document can be found here.