Today the Biden administration responded to a preliminary injunction that a federal judge in Louisiana granted 13 Republican-led states in response to the Biden administration’s oil and gas moratorium.
Advocates for climate action have argued that the Louisiana ruling was deeply flawed and legally indefensible, emphasizing that the law does not require the government to run public lands and waters for the sole benefit of the oil and gas industry.
Drew Caputo, Earthjustice Vice President of Lands, Wildlife, and Oceans stated:
“The district court decision was legally wrong, but it must be followed while Interior appeals it. Despite that, the court decision doesn’t require the federal government to return to business as usual in oil and gas leasing. If the Biden administration does offer new oil and gas leases, it’s essential that it do so in a limited and deliberate way. It can and must introduce necessary reforms into the program to protect the environment, the climate, and the American taxpayer. What it cannot do is return to business as usual in oil and gas leasing.”
The recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report emphasized that cutting anthropogenic methane emissions is the fastest way to slow warming in the near term. We know that oil and gas production is the largest industrial methane polluter. Action by Interior to meaningfully reform federal oil and gas leasing is crucial to meet the President’s targets of cutting greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030 and achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Today’s announcement shows the importance of Congress also taking action to advance oil and gas leasing reforms legislatively, in addition to Interior’s continued review and administrative reform of the program.