Putting Legislative Action Back In Congress Where It Belongs

On Tuesday, Hot Air reported that a federal judge in New Orleans will hear the case regarding Joe Biden’s executive order imposing a moratorium on the sale of new drilling leases to oil and gas companies.

The article quotes the Associated Press:

A federal appeals court in New Orleans hears arguments Tuesday about whether President Joe Biden legally suspended new oil and gas lease sales shortly after taking office because of climate change worries.

The case has not been tried but a federal judge blocked the order, saying only Congress could suspend the sales.

Federal lawyers say the government has broad power to hold, cancel or defer lease sales.

The article reports:

The plaintiffs appear to have a fairly well-developed argument here. The President and the Department of the Interior only have the ability to offer drilling leases because Congress granted them that authority long ago. There is no provision in the existing federal law allowing for the process to be “paused.” In fact, the opposite is true. In a 1987 update to the law, it specifically states that such leases “shall be made available four times per year” in states with eligible federal lands.

In other words, Biden’s executive order not only gummed up the normal process established by Congress, but it may have been a violation of federal law. It’s not as if he has to worry about his own Justice Department trying to prosecute him for this, but the contrast between the claims of the White House and the laws passed by Congress is glaring.

The article concludes:

The only opposition to the new lease sales these days is actually coming from the oil and gas companies themselves. Industry executives are hesitant to expand their current operations for a variety of reasons. For one thing, there is a shortage of workers available to staff up new operations at the moment. Also, inflation impacts the oil and gas industry as much as anyone else. All of the costs associated with putting up a rig and starting to drill have risen. If the price of oil suddenly starts to crater again when production increases, they could wind up losing money on new drilling sites.

In any event, this entire mess began when Joe Biden took office and decided to keep a campaign promise by shutting down drilling on federal land. The predictable results have been damaging across the board and the President is very late to the party in terms of making a course correction now.

We were energy independent when President Biden took office. We need to be there again.

Is The Biden Administration Required To Follow The Law?

On Wednesday, The Daily Caller posted an article about the Biden administration’s ability to ignore laws that they don’t like.

The article reports:

The Biden administration missed another deadline to hold quarterly onshore oil drilling lease sales after a federal court ruled it was legally required to do so.

The Department of the Interior (DOI) defied the June 2021 court ruling which ordered the administration to halt its ban on new oil and gas leases, the Western Energy Alliance — a fossil fuel industry group that challenged the ban — said Wednesday. In August 2021, the DOI vowed to publish notices of competitive sales in December and hold a lease sale 45 days later, two promises it failed to keep, in court filings.

“President Biden just told the American people he’ll work like the devil to lower prices at the gas pump. But the lack of progress on federal lease sales means he’s not trying very hard,” Kathleen Sgamma, president of the Western Energy Alliance, said in a statement. “The department continues to miss deadlines, drag its feet, and ignore a judge’s ruling to hold sales.”

The article concludes:

President Joe Biden has pushed an aggressive anti-fossil fuel agenda since taking office, nixing the Keystone XL pipeline, ditching an oil drilling project in Alaska and staying silent on a court ruling that prohibited a massive offshore drilling lease in the Gulf of Mexico. The White House has appealed to Middle Eastern and Russian energy producers for more oil and natural gas production.

Still, Biden promised Tuesday that he would “work like the devil” to ensure gasoline prices declined.

“The oil and natural gas on federal public lands belong to the American people and could help the nation lower energy prices,” Sgamma said. “Instead, the president lobbies Russia and OPEC to boost their production while constraining American producers. As a result, gas prices remain high and the president makes empty promises.”

DOI official Laura Daniel-Davis said that oil and gas leases were ongoing during a Senate hearing on Feb. 8, an assertion Sgamma characterized as “flat out incorrect.” Sgamma noted that there hasn’t been a single onshore lease sale since Biden took office and it remains unclear whether there will be any in the future.

However, the DOI defended its actions, saying that it will continue to comply with court orders.

“We continue to comply with the injunction entered in Louisiana v Biden and are reviewing recent orders from the district courts in Louisiana,” DOI spokesperson Melissa Schwartz told the Daily Caller News Foundation in a statement. “We do not have any updates as to timing of the next steps in the process.”

Elections have consequences. Do you remember when gas hit $4 a gallon during the Obama administration and President Obama said he didn’t think the high price was a bad thing–he just felt that the price climbed that high too quickly? We have a similar situation in the Biden administration. Saying you want to bring down gasoline prices and then limiting drilling in America does not make sense.