Western Caucus Members Condemn Biden’s Expansion of Oil & Gas Moratorium

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Washington, D.C., January 27, 2021 | Elizabeth Daniels (202-280-8720) | comments

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Members of the Congressional Western Caucus released the following statements in opposition to President Biden’s expansion of the moratorium on oil and gas leases for federal lands and waters.

The moratorium imposed by Executive Order just days after President Biden took office will negatively impact the economies, jobs, and local communities of rural America while threatening America’s energy security.

Chairman Dan Newhouse (R-WA): “Our nation’s energy independence is literally fueled by leasing and drilling permits. President Biden’s unilateral decision to extend the moratorium on oil and gas leases is misguided and ill-informed. This decision is a direct attack on the hardworking men and women who rely on these good-paying jobs, local economies, and rural communities that rely on the revenue from these leases. Worse, it puts American energy security in jeopardy. It didn’t take long for President Biden to bend to the pressures of far-left environmentalists rather than embrace an all-of-the above energy policy that has proven to work.”

Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT): “Extending the moratorium would be catastrophic to Utah’s economy, especially in our rural counties where the economy is most fragile. Drastic policy swings like this will have devastating ripple effects. Rural jobs, tribal interests, education funding, and small businesses are on the line. This decision neglects the needs of the local community and puts even more power in the Federal Government’s hands.”

Rep. Pete Stauber (R-MN): “Joe Biden’s oil and gas moratorium on federal lands is nothing short of an anti-jobs and anti-science assault on our way of life and paves the way for potential mining and mineral moratoriums. Using our own God-given natural resources on our federal lands leads to high-wage, union protected jobs; shores up our national security by being an energy exporter; and keeps energy costs down for middle class families. Meanwhile, offshore oil revenues provide revenue for the Land and Water Conservation Fund. President Biden needs to use common sense and reverse these decrees. Our energy producers need to continue to lead the way in our country’s energy independence especially in these times of economic uncertainty and hardship.”

Chairman Emeritus Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S. (R-AZ): “The Biden Administration’s war on American jobs is only beginning. This ban on American energy production will do nothing to affect our climate, do nothing to change the demand or amount of oil that America needs or uses, but will kill American jobs, drain state and federal resources and empower Russian and OPEC to control our energy future.  This Administration made clear their distaste for American oil and gas workers and their families as they campaigned, unfortunately they are just beginning to destroy working American’s lives by executive order.”

Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ): “President Biden is destroying the livelihoods of thousands of American gas and oil workers by placing a moratorium on gas and oil leases on federal land. The United States is losing its energy independence and our economy is weakening. It is evident the Biden administration is not putting Americans first, and I call on them to lift the moratorium and return Americans to work.”

Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO): “Blocking future oil and gas leases on 700 million acres is an extreme attack on the livelihoods of the people in my district. COVID lockdowns have created enough unemployment and economic challenges without Joe Biden delivering more pink slips to thousands of Coloradans. People are losing everything they have and the only thing this president cares about is appeasing extremist environmentalists. While the Biden administration pretends big oil is its target, the reality is it’s the folks in small rural communities that will be hit hardest by today’s indefinite moratorium. The U.S. has the highest environmental standards in the world and if we aren’t responsibly developing these resources in America, then other countries will take these jobs and develop dirtier resources.”

Rep. Don Young (R-AK): "It is not surprising, though no less disappointing, that President Biden is continuing Obama-era attacks against Alaska and against energy projects across the country. By placing a moratorium on oil and gas projects on federal land, President Biden has surrendered to his party's environmental extremists at the cost of good-paying jobs. I want the President to know this: in my state, we have shown for decades that energy development and environmental protection can go hand in hand. These actions serve only to hinder our economy, stifle energy independence, and in many ways are a gift to adversaries like Russia, China, and Venezuela. I call on President Biden to recognize that if the United States is not producing energy, hostile countries with far lower environmental standards will fill the void. For the sake of national security and economic growth, I call on President Biden to reverse this disastrous moratorium.”

House Natural Resources Ranking Member Bruce Westerman (R-AR): “Job killing, top-down, detrimental regulation is the Democrat way. President Biden has proven this during his first week in office. Halting new energy leasing and development on federal land not only puts thousands of Americans out of work in the middle of a pandemic, but it also prevents states from investing energy revenues into schools, environmental programs, community development, and more. We’ve made incredible progress over the years, making our energy cleaner, cheaper, and safer than ever. We should continue producing it here at home, where we can regulate the environmental standards and pollution requirements. Instead, President Biden is cutting off our supply while the demand continues to grow, forcing us to depend on energy from overseas where we can control none of these environmental regulations. Energy policy should be a rational, long-term plan not a knee-jerk, unscientific decision that does absolutely nothing to help the environment.”

Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA): “Over the last year, the pandemic has only further demonstrated that reliable and affordable domestically-produced energy is critical to our nation and has even been deemed an essential job sector. Unfortunately, this important lesson has fallen on deaf ears at the Biden Administration. This ban is a political stunt crafted to pacify the radical, left-wing of his party and will cause overwhelming devastation to California’s energy industry, potentially jeopardizing more than 360,000 oil and natural gas related jobs. As California tries to recover from the most economically crushing period in modern history, it’s evident that President Biden’s empty promises, that energy development would not be eliminated, ring as hollow as his ‘unifying’ agenda.”

Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney (R-WY): "Today's executive orders signed by President Biden will endanger our economy in Wyoming and threaten our national security. The negative ramifications that will be felt across the country because of this ban will be real and painful. Energy costs will rise. Domestic energy production will fall. Jobs will be lost. Energy states like ours with a large percentage of federal land will lose out on critical education, infrastructure, and healthcare resources, and the individuals who can least afford it will bear the brunt of this decision. Not only that, but this will diminish our ability to produce energy domestically and maintain energy independence, forcing us to rely on our adversaries which undermines our national security interests.

"As the country continues to battle the economic crisis posed by COVID-19, cutting off a major lifeline that Americans have relied on to survive during this time is reckless and irresponsible. We should be expanding opportunities for energy production and economic success, not eliminating them. 

"I intend to work with allies in Washington and partners in Wyoming to fight against these devastating orders to defend the interests of the people of Wyoming and our nation."

Rep. Garret Graves (R-LA): “It’s incredible we have a brand-new administration that preaches unity and in the same breath celebrates another opportunity to knee-cap offshore energy production, the National Parks system and the resiliency of Gulf Coast communities. Their actions are unilateral, divisive, liberal and uninformed by science. For years we have sounded the alarm about hurricane protection and flood prevention efforts in Gulf Coast States and the impact of diverting production overseas – and today's announcement shows that excluding Louisiana from the energy production negotiations and implementing a half-baked moratorium is not in our country’s best interest. The energy industry has been absolutely blindsided yet again, and this decision today doesn’t add up.

In July 2020, we rushed through Congress the Great American Outdoors Act, taking the money that we generate from offshore energy in Louisiana to buy more land in California and other western states. While in the same year, five named hurricanes made landfall in Louisiana. Fast forward to the announced moratorium in the Gulf of Mexico in September 2020 by President Trump, specifically off the coast of Florida, and then today’s announcement, these states are throwing a doubleheader pep rally celebrating the moratorium news while Louisianians are still struggling to put their lives back together in the wake of the volatile 2020 hurricane season.

They can’t have it both ways. They still want to heat and power their homes and businesses, but at the same time, they want to destroy the very industry that powers our country. Not to mention, this decision will not reduce global greenhouse emissions. As we've seen time and time again, a moratorium in the United States will only result in increased production in other countries at the expense of American workers.”

Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO): “The Biden Administration's announcement to impose a radical moratorium ban on new oil and gas leases on federal lands will put Americans with high paying jobs in the energy industry out of work and further burden American families with higher energy prices. This action will also cause the loss of critical revenue that states and local governments depend on to fund schools, police and fire services, and conservation programs. Instead of this misguided action, the Administration should promote an all-of-the-above energy policy that ensures affordable, domestically produced energy for all Americans. I call on President Biden to reverse this terrible decision for the sake of our recovering economy and our national security.”

Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO): “President Biden’s moratorium on oil and gas leases will kill American jobs and force us to rely on foreign nations for energy. This assault on the industry rips good-paying jobs away from oil and gas workers, many of whom reside in Colorado’s Fourth District. It is unconscionable to do this in the middle of a pandemic.”

Rep. Kelly Armstrong (R-ND): "President Biden's moratorium on oil and gas leases will crush a critical segment of our country’s economy, increase reliance on foreign energy, and weaken our national security. Responsible energy development on our public lands is a critical component of North Dakota's economy, and this ban will strike at the livelihoods of the families reliant on the energy sector. The Biden Administration needs to reverse this devastating decision."

Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK): “It was no secret President Biden planned to destroy the oil and gas industry if elected president and in the first week of his administration, he’s taken actions to do just that. This only makes us more dependent on foreign oil and increases prices for American families, not to mention eliminates good-paying jobs in the middle of a pandemic. I strongly oppose this decision and I urge the Biden Administration to reconsider.”

Republican Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA): “America has become the world leader in energy production and a major exporter of oil and natural gas, strengthening our national security and boosting our economy for hard-working families. In less than a week, the Biden Administration has placed these jobs and accomplishments at risk by waging an assault on American energy, as well as the good jobs and low energy costs that go with it. Today’s executive order, combined with last week’s decision to halt energy leasing and permits, will put thousands of Americans out of work, increase energy costs on hard-working families, and make our country less secure. A ban on American energy production will ship millions of high-paying jobs from energy-producing states like Louisiana, to Middle Eastern countries and adversaries like Russia, which emit carbon at dramatically higher rates than us. The American people deserve an all-of-the-above energy strategy that promotes responsible energy exploration and development – not more steps toward the radical Green New Deal. Threatening the livelihood of millions of hard-working families during a global pandemic is beyond destructive, and instead of caving to his radical base, President Biden should consider the devastating consequences that eliminating American energy will have on hard-working families and our national security.”

Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK): "Oil and gas play an important role in our nation's energy independence, and the Biden Administration's deeply misguided moratorium on oil and gas leasing, drilling permits, and lease extension would have severe economic impacts across the country. The U.S. federal government owns hundreds of millions of acres of land across the United States, much of which is rich with natural resources. At a time when we need to be supporting energy producers and our economy, prohibiting the Bureau of Land Management offices from leasing and permitting will only stifle our economic recovery, further American dependence on foreign oil, and create more uncertainty for families who rely on America’s energy industry. I urge President Biden to lift the moratorium for the sake and well-being of communities across America. Until then, I'll stand with our partners in Oklahoma, and across the Nation, to ensure our energy industry remains strong."

Rep. Russ Fulcher (R-ID): “The Biden Administration’s attack on U.S. energy independence continues. The purpose of public lands should not be misunderstood by the President. Public lands are intended to provide a resource to our country, not to be preserved and untouched like our parks. These first moves from President Biden’s Interior Department will make us reliant on foreign adversaries for energy resources and eliminate the local jobs, businesses of public land utilization in some of our most rural counties.”

Rep. Jodey Arrington (R-TX): “From day one, President Biden’s record number of executive actions have been hostile towards the American worker and the American economy. In just one week, we’ve witnessed President Biden cave to the far left’s extreme climate agenda, leaving thousands of hardworking American energy sector employees jobless in the midst of a global pandemic. Energy independence is vital to our national security and our economy’s ability to recover from government-mandated shutdowns. We must reject these harmful policies and put America first.”

Rep. Yvette Herrell (R-NM): “More than half the oil and more than two-thirds of the natural gas produced in New Mexico is on federal lands. A moratorium on new leases will devastate our state’s economy, destroying more than 60,000 jobs by 2022, and decimate our state’s budget. As I told our governor this week: this will have the greatest impact on the children of New Mexico, where our public education system received more than $1 billion in funding from the oil and gas industry last year alone.”

Rep. Brian Babin (R-TX): “The Biden Administration’s efforts to ban new oil and gas permits on federal lands and waters is a direct attack on working families and will completely devastate America’s energy independence. This move will not only kill a million jobs and threaten our national security but also our economic recovery. I urge the President to rethink this reckless moratorium.”

Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID): “On his path to banning mining and oil and gas developments on federal lands and water, President Biden is putting our energy supply chain in jeopardy and costing Americans their jobs. This short sighted policy decision risks bankrupting precious conservation programs and would make us more reliant on countries like China for strategic minerals.  I would hope this administration sees the dangers of Secretarial Order 3395 and reconsiders it immediately.”

Rep. Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX): “Since the mid-2000s America has been one of the leading energy producers in the world. President Biden’s planned expansion of his moratorium on all federal oil and gas leases will kill our nation’s energy independence and ensure our dependence on foreign energy producers. These early actions cause concern that the climate panic will overshadow any plans to provide Americans stable and affordable energy sources. It is deeply concerning that this anti-energy agenda will waste decades of work. President Biden must reverse course or he will irreparably hurt one of the most important sectors of our economy.”

Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC): “President Biden is throwing away our American energy dominance that was achieved under the Trump Administration. By implementing a prohibition on oil and gas leasing on federal lands, the Biden Administration is signaling they are more interested in killing jobs and endangering our national security than bolstering the monumental energy advancements made during the last four years. President Biden’s “Buy American” plans should also apply to American energy. But instead, his plans put thousands of American jobs at risk, like we’ve already seen with the Keystone XL pipeline, and will force energy production to foreign adversaries with horrific environmental standards. We’ve seen this playbook before under the disastrous Obama Administration, and all it did was skyrocket energy prices for hard-working Americans and made our country less safe.”

Rep. Dusty Johnson (R-SD): "This pandemic has taught us a lot about our supply chains. Our trading partners are critical, but being dependent on foreign oil puts us in a weaker position. It’s possible for America to be energy independent and we should continue efforts that promote that goal rather than destroy it.”

Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA): “By unilaterally killing the Keystone Pipeline, recommitting the U.S. to the lopsided Paris Climate Change Accords, and now freezing energy production on our federal lands—in just his first week in office—President Biden has already ensured that he will raise energy prices, eliminate energy jobs, and make our country more dependent on foreign oil. Of course, none of these outrageous actions will achieve his stated goal of reducing global greenhouse gas emissions. If there was any doubt whether President Biden is going to side with climate activists or working families, the answer is now crystal clear.”

Rep. Dave Joyce (R-OH): “These actions undermine our nation’s drive for energy independence by limiting conventional energy development. Cutting the domestic supply of conventional energy won’t decrease the demand for it. Instead, it will cause us to rely on other countries for critical resources, which could threaten our national security. With our economy still reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic, we need an all-of-the-above energy strategy that protects American jobs and reduces energy costs. I firmly believe Republicans and Democrats can work together to produce bipartisan proposals that accomplish those goals while still ensuring we are good stewards of our environment.” 

Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-AZ): “President Biden’s decision to halt oil and gas leases on federal lands and waters will result in the elimination of critical jobs and puts the livelihoods of many American families at risk. This decision is also a direct threat to our national security by forcing our country to rely on foreign nations for energy. This is a bad decision for America.”

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA): “Pie-in-the-sky government mandates and directives that restrict our mining, oil, and gas industries adversely impact our energy security and independence. At a time when millions are struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the last thing Americans need is big government destroying jobs, while costing the economy billions of dollars. Embracing unilateral actions that impede our ability to compete globally will not address climate change risks and will only embolden China. Instead, we need to encourage free-market technological innovation and all-of-the-above energy solutions that promote clean energy development and deployment.”

Background:

On January 26, the Department of the Interior imposed a 60-day moratorium on oil and gas leasing, drilling permits, and lease extensions on federal land. Chairman Newhouse released a statement in opposition.

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