‘Not the time’: Four Dems urge Biden to rescind order freezing oil and gas leasing on fed lands

It appears that four Texas House Democrats are experiencing buyer’s remorse when it comes to President Biden’s executive order on freezing oil and gas leases on federal land. This comes on the heels of Biden nixing thousands of Keystone Pipeline jobs after he was endorsed by the unions.

The four members of Congress are Reps. Vincente Gonzalez, Lizzie Fletcher, Henry Cuellar, and Marc Veasey. They collectively sent a letter to the president and asked him to rescind the executive order. That is not likely to happen as this is part and parcel of Biden’s climate change initiatives. Biden directed the secretary of the interior to halt new oil and gas leases on federal public lands and waters “to the extent possible.”

“Media reports indicate that the administration plans to announce a new proposal to ban responsible energy leasing, including oil and gas leasing, from our federal waters and lands indefinitely,” the letter said. “A federal ban for any period of time will certainly imperil hundreds of thousands of jobs, entire communities, and billions of dollars in royalty revenues to the Federal Treasury and eliminate funding for important conservation programs such as the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).”

Biden’s EO will allegedly result in a GDP loss of $700 billion. The letter also states that the federal government will lose its biggest revenue generator. The order will also allegedly prevent America from being energy independent and puts the country back at the mercy of foreign oil.

The band of Democrats pointed out that New Mexico will be disproportionately impacted:

“Additionally, New Mexico, a small, poor state that receives a huge portion of their revenue for things like funding Albuquerque schools, will find this rule devastating. Such a rule could also tighten supplies, send heating and cooling bills up, and cause a spike in fuel prices during a pandemic,” they wrote. “Furthermore, this benefits Big Oil over small independents that did not have the resources to stockpile permits. We should instead work to make sure we create jobs by hiring more inspectors to make sure methane emissions at the well head and other rules that allow for cleaner extraction are taking place.”

“As the United States works to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, which has killed more than 400,000 Americans and destroyed the livelihoods of many more, now is not the time to jeopardize American jobs, or the critical tax and royalty revenues that federal leases generate for local, state, and federal government that need funds now,” the letter stated. “Instead, we should invest in our nation’s infrastructure and create the jobs that will help our nation emerge stronger after this pandemic.”

Their pleas are likely to fall on deaf ears regardless of the facts presented.

The Democrats in this group are happy the Biden administration rejoined the Paris Climate Accord. But ironically, they want Biden to “reject policies that would ban responsible oil and gas leasing on federal lands and federal waters.”

At a signing ceremony on Wednesday, the president presented the order as a measure to slow the pace of climate change and avoid the pollution of public lands.

“(Unlike) the previous administration, we’ll start to properly manage lands and waterways in ways that allow us to protect, preserve them, the full value that they provide for us for future generations,” Biden stated. “Let me be clear, and I know this always comes up: We’re not going to ban fracking. We’ll protect jobs and grow jobs, including through stronger standards like controls from methane leaks and union workers willing to install the changes.”

The “Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad Executive Order,” also calls for the interior secretary to “launch a rigorous” review of existing energy leases and permits while identifying steps toward doubling offshore wind energy production by 2030. It also creates an interagency National Climate Task Force along with the development of an emissions-reduction target.


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