A federal judge on Thursday issued a permanent injunction that will allow new oil and gas leases on federal lands.
The ruling by Judge Terry Doughty of the Western District of Louisiana came one day after the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals had kicked back to Doughty an injunction he issued last year to accomplish the same goal, according to The Hill.
Doughty’s Thursday ruling permanently blocks a January 2021 executive order from President Joe Biden that halted lease sales on federal lands.
The order applies to Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah and West Virginia, which sued Biden.
Doughty, who was appointed by former President Donald Trump, ruled that Biden’s January 2021 order violated the Mineral Leasing Act and Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act by leaving Congress out of the loop.
“Both statutes require Government Defendants’ agencies to sell oil and gas leases. The OCSLA has a Five-Year Plan in effect that requires eligible leases to be sold. Government Defendants’ agencies have no authority to make significant revisions in the OCSLA Five-Year Plan without going through the procedure mandated by Congress,” Doughty wrote, according to The Hill.
“The MLA requires the [Interior Department] to hold lease sales, where eligible lands are available at lease quarterly. By stopping the process, the agencies are in effect amending two Congressional statutes. Neither the OCSLA nor the MLA gives the Government Defendants’ agencies the authority to implement a Stop of lease sales,” he ruled.... (Read more)
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