In one of his first actions as president, Joe Biden jeopardized thousands of jobs with a freeze on oil and gas drilling on federal lands.
A federal judge appointed by former President Trump has now granted a nationwide, temporary injunction, preventing Biden’s controversial policy from going into effect for now, the Washington Examiner reported.
Judge blocks Biden’s oil and gas freeze
Louisiana and 12 other states that are dependent in large part on fossil fuels — Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, and West Virginia — sued Biden in March, arguing that the decision was reckless and made without public consultation, the Associated Press reported.
The White House responded by asserting broad discretion to cancel new leases while noting that existing leases are still in effect.
But Judge Terry Doughty ruled Tuesday that the plaintiffs will likely prevail, having demonstrated that the freeze on new leases is bringing them “irreparable injury” to the tune of “millions and possibly billions of dollars.”
The judge noted that Biden’s pause lacked necessary approval from Congress and any clear rationale justifying such a disruptive change.
“The omission of any rational explanation in canceling the lease sales, and in enacting the Pause, results in this Court ruling that Plaintiff States also have a substantial likelihood of success on the merits of this claim,” he wrote.
Biden agenda faces pushback in courts
The Interior Department said that they will comply with the injunction as they prepare a report this summer on the administration’s next steps. “We are reviewing the judge’s opinion and will comply with the decision,” they said.
Louisiana’s attorney general, Jeff Landry, welcomed the judge’s ruling, writing, “We appreciate that federal courts have recognized President Biden is completely outside his authority in his attempt to shut down oil and gas leases on federal lands.”
Biden enacted the pause in January as part of his climate change agenda, which seeks to phase out fossil fuels. He also canceled the Keystone XL pipeline, costing thousands of jobs.
This is not the first time Biden’s radical agenda has faced pushback in the courts.