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Senator urges Secretary of the Interior Harland to suspend oil leasing

Washington – Republican and Democratic senators sought a response from Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland on Wednesday after a federal court blocked the Biden administration from suspending new oil and gas leases on federal land and waters.

In a sharp-spoken ruling on Tuesday, Judge Terry Dauty of the US District Court for Louisiana ordered continued plans for rental sales in the Gulf of Mexico off Alaska and “all qualified land facilities” across the country. The ruling was issued on the first day of President Joe Biden’s inauguration after he stopped leasing oil and gas from the country’s vast public lands and waters because of concerns about climate change.

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“It’s a fresh decision. Our department is discussing and discussing with the Justice Department to consider the judge’s opinion,” Harland asked at a Senate budget hearing.

“We respect the judge’s decision. More information will be released in the future,” she said.

Senator Lisa Murkowski, a top Republican member of the Senate Budget Subcommittee, said in a prepared statement that Harland addressed a court ruling or the government’s vast oil and gas leasing program. He said he was surprised that he wasn’t there.

“The 17-page discussion outlining the budget really impressed us with the fact that we weren’t really aware of our federal land production and its role,” Murkowski said.

In light of the court’s ruling, she told Harland: I expect you to comply with the law. “

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“I always obey the law,” said Harland, a former Democrat in New Mexico.

Montana’s Democratic Senator Jon Tester was also impatient with Haaland, saying that a review ordered by Biden about two months before Harland took office in mid-March seems to be protracted.

“As this review progresses, leasing suspensions give people in the oil and gas industry a lot of uncertainty. Without solid information in the reviews, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to grow their credibility. . “

The tester asked Harland when the review was “ready for prime time.”

Officials said, “I said all the time in early summer … so I’m guessing I’ll get it someday in the near future,” Haaland said.

“We’re using it because it’s coming out next month,” the tester replied. Haaland did not promise a firm schedule.

Biden’s bet on reforming and perhaps shrinking its multi-billion dollar leasing program without disrupting a significant sector of the U.S. economy as a result of repeated leasing suspensions and court rulings. It became clear.

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Dorty’s decision in a lawsuit filed by Louisiana Republican Attorney General Jeff Landry and 12 other state officials keeps the country away from fossil fuels and the worst effects of climate change, including catastrophic droughts and floods. It hit Byden’s efforts to stop it. And wildfire.

Biden and Haaland said the leasing ban was only temporary, but authorities did not say how long it would last. It is also unclear how much legal authority the government has to stop drilling about 23 million acres (93,000 square kilometers) previously leased to energy companies.

Senator John Barrasso, a top Republican member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Commission, called the judge’s decision “the rule of law and the victory of American energy workers.”

Biden’s “illegal ban (for new rentals) has hurt workers and robbed Wyoming and other states of a major source of income for public education,” Barasso said. “President Biden should immediately withdraw his penalties and get Americans back to work.”

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Following Biden’s January 27 order, the Home Office canceled oil and gas leases from public land until June. It affected offshore sales in Nevada, Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming, and the Gulf of Mexico. The agency also abandoned the planned public comment period for offshore sales in Alaska.

The thirteen states that sued said the moratorium would sacrifice state money and work, bypassing the government’s comment period and other bureaucratic measures required before making such delays.

Mr. Dorty, who was nominated as a federal parliamentarian by President Donald Trump in 2017, said that “millions of dollars, and in some cases billions of dollars, are at stake” for local governments and other public uses. “.

Copyright 2021 AP communication. all rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.

Senator urges Secretary of the Interior Harland to suspend oil leasing

Source link Senator urges Secretary of the Interior Harland to suspend oil leasing

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