August 18, 2022 |
The oil and gas industry took another hit in federal court Wednesday. A Fifth Circuit Court panel lifted a nationwide injunction blocking the Biden administration’s pause of new oil and gas leases.
In an eight-page opinion, the three-judge panel found that the lower court’s injunction was too vague.
The opinion states, “We cannot ascertain from the record what conduct—an unwritten agency policy outside of the executive order, or the executive order itself, is enjoined.”
Senator John Barrasso blasted the court’s decision. “Federal law is clear as day,” Wyoming’s senior senator said in a statement. “The Secretary of Interior is required to hold quarterly lease sales.”
Barraso blunt response was aimed at the convoluted, eight-page opinion. The court’s ruling “gives the Biden Administration another chance to subvert the law,” Barrasso said. He added that until the White House opens the nation’s domestic energy resources, “Americans will suffer from historic inflation and economic recession.”
The legal arguments over Joe Biden’s executive order, signed on his first day in office, are convoluted. Interior argues that the executive order is not subject to legal review. The 21 states, including Wyoming that sued, say the lower court’s injunction did not block the executive order. Instead, it enjoined the “unwritten but conspicuous nationwide lease-sale pause as final agency action.” The judges in the appeals court ruled in the White House’s favor, saying the lower court’s injunction was not written correctly.
The attorney general of Louisiana, where the lawsuit was filed in March of 2021, said in a statement that it’s unfortunate the litigation continues over policies “that cause pain to American families, especially those crushing us at the pump.”
The case is State of Louisiana et al versus Biden et al, case number 21-30505 in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.