Biden Administration Still Trying To Ban Federal Oil Leasing

According to recent Department of Justice court filings, the Biden administration is still trying to keep up the ban on federal oil and gas leasing.

The Biden administration asked a federal court this week to uphold its ban on new federal oil and gas leasing.

After more than a dozen states filed a motion on April 29 requesting a judge permanently end the leasing ban, the administration begged the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana to throw the motion out, according to the Monday filings.

The Louisiana court initially placed an injunction on the ban in June of 2021, which forced the federal government to hold oil and gas lease sales until a final ruling could be issued in the case.

“The government’s position is laid out in its filings,” Melissa Schwartz, a spokesperson for the Department of the Interior, told The Daily Caller in an email on Wednesday.

The Department of the Interior (DOI) has not held a single onshore oil and gas lease sale during President Joe Biden’s time in office. In April, the department finally scheduled six sales for June, claiming that the court injunction from ten months prior had forced its hand. Despite this, the DOI delayed four of the sales, one of which was scheduled for Tuesday, following protests from environmental groups.

According to The Daily Caller, Schwartz did not comment on why the Biden administration has continued to argue in favor of the ban or if the scheduled sales would be canceled altogether if the court reinstated the ban over the next week.

The national average price of a gallon of gasoline hit a record of $5.02 on Tuesday, while the average cost for a gallon of diesel reached a record $5.78 on Wednesday, according to data from AAA.

It appears counterintuitive for the administration to continue to fight against oil and gas leases as the price of fuel continues to skyrocket across the country. While the White House claims to be fighting to stop climate change, there should be some sane voices within the administration pushing for compromise in order to alleviate the burden on the American people. Beyond just the cost of filling up at the pump, the price of gas affects the cost of goods and services across the country, as transportation costs rise.

In their filing requesting an end to the leasing ban, the states — led by Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry — called out the Biden administration for its actions.

“For decades, presidents of both parties have faithfully executed the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act and Mineral Leasing Act—Congress’s meticulously crafted framework governing oil and gas leasing on federal lands,” the states wrote in their April filing. “Those statutes’ import is unambiguous: the Executive Branch must work with the States to facilitate the expeditious and safe development of onshore and offshore federal energy resources.”

“By executive fiat, however, President Biden has brought this entire regime to a halt,” the filing continued. “Defendants’ administration-wide Pause on onshore and offshore oil-and-natural-gas development is unauthorized by any statute.”

Administration officials have continued to make it known that Biden is in favor of the leasing ban, ignoring the consequences on the price of gas.

“President Biden remains absolutely committed to not moving forward with additional drilling on public lands,” White House climate czar Gina McCarthy said during an appearance on MSNBC in April.