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Biden’s Oil and Gas Lease Ban Blocked by Federal Judge

A federal judge in Louisiana has blocked President Joe Biden’s suspension of new oil and gas leases on federal land and water, delivering a setback to the administration’s efforts to clamp down on fossil fuels.

U.S. District Judge Terry Doughty’s ruling (pdf), filed on June 15, grants a preliminary injunction in a 13-state lawsuit led by Louisiana Republican Attorney General Jeff Landry (pdf).

“This is a victory not only for the rule of law, but also for the thousands of workers who produce affordable energy for Americans,” Landry said in a statement following the ruling.

Technically, the injunction amounts to a halt of the Biden administration’s suspension of new drilling permits, with a nationwide effect, pending further arguments on the merits of the case.

The lawsuit alleged that the Biden administration violated provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) and that Biden exceeded his powers in Section 208 of Executive Order 14008.

Biden on his first day in office signed the order, which says the federal government “must advance environmental justice” and, among other efforts, “reduce greenhouse gas emissions” and “bolster resilience to the impacts of climate change.”

Landry and the other plaintiffs argued that the administration bypassed comment periods and other bureaucratic steps required before a drilling permit pause could be imposed, and that the move would cost the states money and jobs.