Federal Judge Blocks Biden Attack on Montana Energy Producers
HELENA – A federal judge today halted the Biden administration’s moratorium on federal oil and gas leasing and drilling permits that threatened the livelihoods of rural Montana families and would have cost the state millions in lost tax revenue. The lawsuit was filed by Attorney General Austin Knudsen and a dozen other state attorneys general.
United States District Judge for the Western District of Louisiana Terry Doughty issued a nationwide preliminary injunction against the provisions of President Biden’s Executive Order 14008 that blocked oil and gas leasing operations on federal lands. The order came days after the U.S. Department of the Interior halted development and exploration of existing leases.
“This ruling is a victory for Montana in the fight against the Biden administration’s lawless actions that are harming domestic energy development and increasing prices,” Attorney General Knudsen said. “Montanans can’t afford the Biden energy agenda that favors foreign countries over our own communities, especially after he unilaterally and unconstitutionally killed the Keystone XL pipeline.”
The Court enjoined and restrained the Bureau of Land Management and others from implementing the pause of new oil and natural gas leases on eligible lands.
An ongoing lease moratorium would lower employment by 210 jobs, reduce personal income by $13 million, and cost $4 million in oil and gas taxes in Montana this year, according to a University of Wyoming study published in December 2020. The cumulative effect to the state would be 702 fewer jobs, $170 million reduced person income, and $199 million in foregone oil and gas tax revenue by 2025.