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Members Demand Answers on Future of Onshore, Offshore Energy Leases

June 24, 2021

Today, House Committee on Natural Resources Ranking Member Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) joined House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), U.S. Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) and 34 other members in sending a letter to U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Debra Haaland regarding the administration’s pause on both onshore and offshore energy leases. In part, the members wrote:

“On June 15, 2021, the United States District Court Western District of Louisiana, Lake Charles Division, issued a nationwide preliminary injunction against President Biden’s Executive Order 14008, Section 208 (EO), that mandated a ‘pause’ on new oil and gas leasing on both federal offshore and onshore lands. Through the preliminary injunction, the Court acknowledged the injury caused by the ‘pause,’ noting millions of dollars at stake. Additionally, the Court’s decision indicates the strong likelihood the states will succeed in their challenge against the Biden administration. We look forward to the Department of the Interior’s resumption of lease sales, in compliance with the Court’s order.

“We remain concerned, however, about the harms already caused by the mandated ‘pause.’ For example, immediate impacts of the EO’s ‘pause’ included cancellation of Gulf of Mexico Oil and Gas Lease Sale 257, Planned Lease Sales 259 and 261 and BLM lease sales scheduled for March 9, 2021 in Nevada and March 23, 2021 in Montana. In addition to resuming lease sales, the Department should provide remedies for the cancellation of leases that occurred this year.”

Read the full letter here.

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