Joe Biden hasn’t even been in the Oval Office for two weeks yet, and already, he’s being dragged into court by an oil industry group that isn’t happy with the president’s recent executive order halting further leasing of federal lands for drilling.
According to Reuters, the Western Energy Alliance said Wednesday that it had “filed a lawsuit challenging U.S. President Joe Biden’s executive order temporarily suspending oil and gas leasing on federal lands.”
The group’s president, Kathleen Sgamma, said Thursday that Biden’s order would kill nearly 60,000 jobs across more than half a dozen states, Fox News reported.
It could also cost as much as $33.5 billion in lost GDP, the group said, according to Breitbart.
“The law is clear”
According to Fox, Biden himself has said the order “directs the secretary of the interior to stop issuing new oil and gas leases on public lands and offshore waters.”
“We are going to start properly manage lands and waterways in ways that allow us to protect, preserve the full value that they provide for us for future generations,” the president remarked. But not everyone is happy with the development.
In a press release announcing their suit, the Western Energy Alliance reportedly said it is challenging Biden’s executive action because it “exceed[s] presidential authority and constitut[es] a violation of the Mineral Leasing Act, National Environmental Policy Act, and the Federal Lands Policy and Management Act.”
The alliance represents some 200 oil and gas companies, according to Fox, and the group says the majority of its members “are small businesses with an average of 14 employees,” Breitbart reported.
“The law is clear. Presidents don’t have authority to ban leasing on public lands,” Sgamma said in a statement, according to Breitbart. “All Americans own the oil and natural gas beneath public lands, and Congress has directed them to be responsibly developed on their behalf.”
“Doesn’t make sense”
Biden, for his part, has argued that any jobs lost in the oil and gas industry can be easily replaced by work in clean energy. But speaking Thursday with Fox & Friends, Sgamma said that’s plainly “false.”
“The energy we use in the United States, over 70% of it comes from oil and natural gas,” she said, according to Fox. “People still need to drive their cars, they need to heat their homes, they need to turn on the switch and have reliable electricity 24/7.”
She went on:
If we kill oil and natural gas in the United States, we merely have to import that oil and natural gas from overseas, which doesn’t make sense because we produce it here in the United States under very strict environmental regulations. Not so much in Russia.