Legislation designed to prohibit the Biden Administration from blocking both mineral and energy leasing on federal lands has been introduced in the U.S. Senate.
The Protecting Our Wealth of Energy Resources Act will make it impossible for the White House or the Departments of Agriculture, Energy, and Interior to prohibit such projects without the prior approval of Congress.
Introduced by Wyoming Senator Cynthia Lummins, the legislation specifically bans any action that would “prohibit or substantially delay” the issuance of new coal, gas, and oil leases, as well as all new critical minerals leases.
Noting the President’s move last month to ban federal lands energy and minerals leasing, Lummins said that executive order could prove “nothing short of catastrophic for western states that are already reeling from the decline in energy usage brought on by the pandemic and continued volatility in energy markets.”
According to a White House press release, the President’s order puts a pause on “entering into new oil and natural gas leases on public lands or offshore waters to the extent possible,” while at the same time launching a “rigorous review of all existing leasing and permitting practices related to fossil fuel development” on those same lands and waters.
The order impacts the construction industry due to the pipeline, rig, and well foundation building projects that are typically a part of gas and oil drilling operations.
Although Lummins’ bill has won the backing of 25 senators, its chances for final passage are currently unclear.
By Garry Boulard
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