AG’s lawyers react to federal block on Biden’s pause for new oil and gas leases

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BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD)- Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry says he’s been handed a major victory in the federal court. He’s been granted a nationwide injunction against President Joe Biden’s ban on oil and gas leases on federal land.

In January, Biden banned any new oil and gas leases on federal land. This had major push back in the state. Some critics argued that this was going to cost thousands of jobs in Louisiana.

Scott St.John is the deputy solicitor for Landry, he was hands on with the case in federal courts. His argument, he says, was straightforward.

“Congress told the executive to sell oil and gas leases as an auction. The president decided he didn’t want to do that, so it was a pretty simple argument to go into court and say the law requires the administration to hold auctions for oil and gas leases and the president is refusing to do it,” St. John said.

Landry led a coalition of 13 states to sue President Biden. 

Biden’s attorneys argued no leases in Louisiana had been cancelled as a result of the moratorium, an argument the AG’s office calls misleading.

The AG also argued that the halt on leases would hurt Louisiana’s coast.

“How the program works is the state gets a share of the revenue from these offshore leases. In Louisiana, we use that money to fund our master coastal restoration program and flood protection. And, so, it has a real effect for the people in Louisiana. They are expense programs and it means that hopefully in years to come, someone’s house won’t flood,” St. John said.

The Louisiana’s Oil & Gas Industry also say they are happy with the decision so far.

“This ruling is a win for every worker in the country, but especially in Louisiana where we depend so much on the Gulf of Mexico. The policies of this administration have been grueling for Americans at the pump, so hopefully legal decisions like these will help ease that pain on Americans,” said Stephen Lewerenz, spokesperson for Louisiana Oil & Gas Association (LOGA).

This is only a preliminary injunction, St. John will be back in federal court in the fall for a final decision. 

“I have no reason to doubt we will be just as successful then,” he said.

The full injunction is available here.

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