CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon announced yesterday April 21, that he will be testifying before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on April 27, in response to the Bureau of Land Managements announcement that new oil and gas lease sales on public lands would continue to be halted through June.
Gordon said in a statement released by his office that he will testify on “the impacts of this action, and why an oil and gas leasing “moratorium” is unnecessary.”
Wyoming Senator John Barrasso, ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resouces Committee, has been outspokenly against the federal oil and gas lease ban. He invited Governor Gordon to testify next week.
In a statement, Senator Barrasso said, “I am glad Governor Gordon is coming to Washington to testify on how the Biden administration is taking a sledgehammer to Wyoming’s economy.”
“By banning new oil and gas leasing on federal lands, the president is depriving thousands of people in Wyoming of their jobs. Energy production on public lands is a principal source of revenue for public education and other essential services. I look forward to Governor Gordon’s testimony and working with him to fight for America’s energy workers,” said Barrasso.
In one of his first actions as President, Joe Biden ordered the Department of the Interior to pause the sale of new oil and gas leases in the United States. Biden asked the Department of the Interior to review the leasing program and its impact on climate change.
According to the Associated Press, “The burning of oil, gas, and coal from government-owned lands and waters is a top source of U.S. emissions, accounting for 24% of the nation’s greenhouse gases. Oil and gas account for the biggest chunk of human-caused fossil fuel emissions from federal lands following a drilling surge under former President Donald Trump.”
The leasing ban is temporary and does not affect existing leases but officials have not announced how long it will last. Drilling permits have continued to be issued.
Governor Gordon also said in his statement that, “the announcement by the Bureau of Land Management “to not hold” the second-quarter oil and gas lease sale due to an ongoing review ordered by President Biden is disappointing, disheartening, and not surprising. Federal reviews of anything typically take months, and sometimes years.”
“What is most disappointing is that the Department of Interior could have chosen to review the federal oil and gas leasing program while conducting quarterly sales. Instead, they chose to tighten the financial choke of revenue that would normally flow to the state from lease sales, all the while refraining from consulting with the very states and communities that are directly impacted by these decisions,” said the Governor.
According to the Governor, Wyoming has received, on average, $35 million annually from oil and gas lease sales on federal lands in the past eight years.
In March, Governor Gordon filed a lawsuit on behalf of the state of Wyoming, challenging the ban on federal oil and gas leases. The lawsuit states that the postponement is actually a leasing moratorium and is contrary to law.