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Ala. AG joins 12 states filing suit to stop suspension on new oil and gas drilling on federal lands

Representatives passed H.R. 1941, otherwise known as the Coastal and Marine Economies...
Representatives passed H.R. 1941, otherwise known as the Coastal and Marine Economies Protection Act which Congressman Joe Cunningham introduced back in March.(Pixabay)
Updated: Mar. 24, 2021 at 2:54 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Attorney General Steve Marshall joined 12 other state attorneys general in filing suit Wednesday to block the Biden administration’s suspension on all future oil and gas leasing and drilling permits on federal lands.

“Seven days after President Biden was sworn into office, he issued an executive order declaring a moratorium on future oil and gas leasing and drilling permits on federal lands,” said Attorney General Marshall. “This action came immediately after the U.S. Department of Interior similarly halted oil and gas development and exploration under existing leases. The result is an effective ban by the Biden administration on a major component of America’s strategy for energy independence. As gas prices have risen precipitously since Biden took office, his ban on future energy development on government lands is a direct affront to American families’ livelihoods and our national security. I have joined with 12 other states in challenging the Biden administration’s energy ban which violates both the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA) and the Mineral Leasing Act (MLA).”

The Biden administration said the order to pause the drilling was aimed at fighting climate change and tamping down the U.S. fossil fuel industry.

AG Marshall said states—including Alabama—are entitled to significant portions of the proceeds from Outer Continental Shelf leasing and production. The Mineral Leasing Act has similar provisions for onshore oil and gas development.

For States specifically, Marshall said the oil and gas leases provide significant environmental benefits because portions of the lease proceeds are invested into vital State environmental defense and restoration projects.

The lawsuit states, “The Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act and Mineral Leasing Act set out specific statutory duties requiring executive agencies to further the expeditious and safe development of the abundant energy. In compliance with those statutes, the Department of the Interior has for decades issued leases for the development of oil and natural gas on public lands and offshore waters.”

Alabama joined Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah and West Virginia in the lawsuit filed Wednesday morning in the United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana.

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