When Joe Biden signed an order banning any new leases and effectively halting drilling on federal lands for sixty days last week, people in the oil and gas industry were alarmed but not surprised. Biden had made conflicting promises and claims throughout the primary and the general elections about his plans to satisfy the green lobby and the eco-warriors by “reducing carbon” and tackling Big Oil. Once he was safely in office, he started delivering on those promises literally on day one. But that doesn’t mean that this is going to be a smooth ride for the “leave it in the ground” crowd that Biden is courting. There are many companies currently holding contracts that employ tens of thousands of energy industry workers who are now at risk and are exploring their legal options. (Houston Chronicle)
Acting Interior Secretary Scott de la Vega signed an order Wednesday night, ordering department staff not to “issue any onshore or offshore fossil fuel authorization” for 60 days without clearance from Biden’s appointees, who are awaiting confirmation by the Senate.
Anne Bradbury, president of the trade group American Exploration and Production Council, said other companies also have stocked up on leases.
“We’re exploring all our options,” Bradbury said. “We’re really concerned about what this means. The federal government has contractual obligations under existing leases.”
The American Petroleum institute weighed in with similar language. Their president told the media that everyone had been trying to warn people about this and Biden had threatened the oil and gas industry before taking office, so they can only “take him at his word.”
American Petroleum Institute President Mike Sommers said Thursday that the move risked hundreds of thousands of jobs and would only increase U.S. reliance on oil from foreign nations with lower environmental standards.
“For now, it’s temporary, but Biden said during the campaign that he wanted to cease development on federal lands,” he said. “We can only take him at his word.”
The head of the American Exploration & Production Council was a bit more blunt when providing a statement to Reuters. She said what everyone in the industry already recognized. This is the fracking ban that Biden promised in the debates and then had his spokespeople walk back later so he could deceive the people of Pennsylvania and other oil and natural gas-producing swing states.
“This is a frack ban,” Anne Bradbury, chief executive of the drilling trade group American Exploration & Production Council, said in an interview. “Even just for 60 days, it’s a really aggressive move.”
Of course it is. Joe Biden changed his story on energy policy more often than he probably changes his socks. But he was always providing dog whistles to the hard left, letting them know that he was going to kill off fossil fuels. The idea that this ban will only last 60 days is a pipe dream. (Pun intended)
The head of the American Exploration and Production Council told Bloomberg that the real pain for American workers was yet to come. She’s quoted as saying, “Blocking American companies from accessing our country’s natural resources is bad for American jobs, bad for state budgets, and bad for national security.”
This is setting the stage for legal challenges to the Biden administration. As noted above, most of these companies already have contracts in hand for drilling on federal lands and they have invested significant resources into these projects based on the good faith of the federal government. To have the rug pulled out from under them now would be disastrous. But more importantly, we’ve experienced four years where liberal activists have launched endless lawsuits against the Trump administration over its orders and policies, frequently stymieing them and being granted injunctions in court. Opponents of Biden’s liberal agenda have been watching and learning from these examples, so now the shoe is on the other foot. I’m pretty sure that President Biden is about to experience a taste of his own base’s medicine.