Attorney General Knudsen files lawsuit against Biden administration’s overreaching energy policy

Attorney General Knudsen files lawsuit against Biden administration’s overreaching energy policy

HELENA – Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen, along with three other state attorneys general, filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration’s overreaching energy rule that will cost Montanan’s their jobs and negatively impact the state’s economy. The lawsuit is the 43rd that Attorney General Knudsen has filed against the Biden administration.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) rule mandates a preference for mineral interests that use flaring (i.e. combusting) instead of venting to get rid of waste. Not only is this rule overreaching, since the Mineral Leasing Act allows states have to sovereign authority over their natural resources, but it would also cost the state millions of dollars in taxes. In fiscal year 2022 Montana collected more than $110 million in gas taxes, the additional regulatory requirements imposed by the rule would reduce royalties paid to mineral owners in the state, including the state itself. Those royalties go to school, transportation, and retirement funds.

“This rule will make oil and gas development more expensive ultimately reducing production in Montana,” Attorney General Knudsen said. “This is once again another attack on Montanans by the Biden administration to promote its radical green agenda.” 

A Wyoming federal court already ruled in favor of vacating a similar rule filed by BLM in 2016. It was determined that the rule was fundamentally an air emissions rule thinly disguised as a waste prevention rule and that “no difference exists between eliminating excess methane by venting it or flaring it – the same amount is wasted in either event.”

The 2024 rule is more of the same and is even more unlawful as BLM is attempting to use its authority over federally owned oil and gas to expand its power and subject vast amounts of state-owned and privately-owned oil and gas to federal regulation.

Attorney General Knudsen joined attorneys general from Texas and Wyoming in the North Dakota-led Lawsuit.

Click here to read the lawsuit.

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