Biden Administration Issues 60-Day Suspension of New Oil and Gas Leases

Biden Administration Issues 60-Day Suspension of New Oil and Gas Leases

CHEYENNE — On January 20, the United State Department of Interior issued an order that for 60 days suspends approval of new oil and gas leases, along with key agency, regulatory and development actions.

Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon, the Petroleum Association of Wyoming (PAW), and Senator Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyoming) have issued statements expressing their dissatisfaction with this order.

“The Department of Interior’s Secretarial Order temporarily suspending nearly all activities related to leasing and other activities of the Department of the Interior is unnecessary, punitive and contrary to President Biden’s pledge to unify our nation and get people back to work,” Governor Gordon said.

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At a time when we need to come together, this action only irritates wounds that have barely begun to heal.

-Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon

This order is effective immediately and will remain in effect for 60 days, or until any of its provisions are amended, superseded, or revoked.

The order states that the purpose is to implement a “targeted and time limited elevation of relevant decisions at the Department of Interior for the purposes of reviewing the questions of face, law, and policy they raise.”

“A mere 24 hours ago, President Biden stood before America promising to unify our nation. Yet on day one, he took divisive actions to devastate Wyoming’s economy,” Lummis said. “Make no mistake about it, the Biden Ban is a strike on the heart of Wyoming jobs, families and communities. His actions to appease the radical left will be borne disproportionately on the shoulders of states like Wyoming with high amounts of federal lands.”

Sen. Lummis has said that she and Senate colleagues will soon release a bill to overturn the ban and ensure that the Biden administration cannot restrict new federal leases and permits without congressional consent.

“This unilateral action will kill jobs, raise gas and energy prices, and further harm our ability to fund our schools, roads, hospitals, and other critical infrastructure,” Lummis said. “The price of this ban is simply one the people of Wyoming cannot afford.”

PAW said that the 60-day suspension of all federal leases and permits to drill is just the beginning of the Biden administration’s “executive orders aimed at hampering natural gas and oil production on federal lands.”

It is unfortunate that on its first day in office, the new administration would implement policies that will slow Wyoming’s economic recovery. 

– Petroleum Association of Wyoming

“According to a recent University of Wyoming Study, the state stands to lose $300 million in tax revenue each year and more than 15,000 jobs annually through 2025 if this ban becomes a long term policy,” PAW said in its statement. “PAW will work to protect the livelihoods of Wyoming’s hard working men and women in the natural gas and oil industry using all legal means at our disposal.”

According to the order, the order ensures that the Department of Interior can continue its “existing operations- including operations necessary for health, safety, and national security matters- consistent with all legal obligations and policy goals to uphold trust and treaty responsibility to tribal nations and to responsibly steward the Nation’s public lands, waters, and resources for current and future generations.”

Governor Gordon continued his statement by saying that orders such as these will only delay the ability to get Wyoming residents back to work.

“Wyoming and other western states are particularly affected by sweeping orders like this. It only delays the ability to get more people back to work and interferes with Wyoming’s ability to expand its economy,” Governor Gordon said.

All Wyoming people should be concerned about this action because the revenue from development on public lands drives the funding for schools, healthcare and other key services.

– Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon

“These types of federal actions threaten the ability of Wyoming’s energy industries to operate in a normal fashion and signal a larger threat to our state’s economic vitality. This is a disheartening start to the new Administration,” Governor Gordon said.

The complete order from the Department of Interior can be viewed below.