WY Lawmakers United in Limiting Biden’s Oil and Gas, Coal Leasing Bans

U.S. lawmakers from Wyoming, along with dozens of other Congressional members from other states, are moving quickly to kneecap U.S. President Joe Biden’s recent temporary leasing bans for mineral extraction on federally owned lands.

Legislation introduced in both the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives Jan. 28 could render any executive order by Biden, or similar orders by his administration, that would ban oil and natural gas and coal leasing on federal lands without Congressional approval.

Two bills introduced Wednesday by U.S. Representative Liz Cheney (R-WY), alongside 21 other legislators in the House, would require future mineral extraction federal land leasing bans to be approved by Congress in the form of a joint resolution within 30 legislative days, according to a release issued by Cheney’s office.

The bills, the Safeguarding Oil and Gas Leasing and Permitting Act and the Safeguarding Coal Leasing and Permitting Act, are Cheney’s response to actions taken by the Biden Administration she says endanger the Unites States economy and pose a significant threat to national security, according to the release.

Combined, the bills introduced in the House are safeguards to prevent job loss, higher energy costs, and revenue losses that could stem from a moratorium on federal leasing bans.

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“These bills will defend the interests of the people of Wyoming and our nation, and I will work with partners in Washington to push for their consideration,” Cheney said in a statement.

Action taken in the House are a mirror image of events unfolding in the Senate with the introduction of the Protecting Our Wealth of Energy Resources (POWER) Act by U.S. Senators Cynthia Lummis and John Barrasso (both R-WY) along with 23 other senators.

Like the legislation spearheaded by Cheney, the act seeks to prohibit Biden and his administration from blocking energy or mineral leasing and permitting on federal lands and waters without Congressional approval, according to a release from Lummis’ office.

Lummis characterized Biden’s leasing moratoriums in a Jan. 28 statement as catastrophic for western states negatively impacted by the decline in energy usage as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic and volatile energy markets.

“It’s a one-two punch that means disaster for energy jobs, families and communities,” Lummis said in a statement.

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Barrasso added to that by publicly branding Biden’s federal leasing ban as an illegal order that “robs people in Wyoming of their livelihoods.”

“I will fight it every step of the way,” Barrasso said in a statement. “Energy production on public lands is a critical source of revenue for our public schools, roads and bridges, water projects, and other essential services.”

Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon also issued a public commendation Jan. 28 in opposition to Biden’s recent executive action, endorsing the bills sponsored by Cheney, Barrasso, and Lummis as a means of preventing the overreach of one branch of government that could cost the Wyoming economy billions of dollars.

“It is disappointing that such a law is necessary, but it is,” Gordon said.