Cheney introducing bills prohibiting Biden coal, oil, gas leasing moratoriums

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EXCLUSIVE – Republican Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney on Thursday introduced new legislation blocking President Biden's executive order to ban oil and gas leasing on federal lands and a potential coal moratorium.

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The bills, titled The Safeguarding Oil and Gas Leasing and Permitting Act and The Safeguarding Coal Leasing Act. would block Biden's moratoriums unless Congress enacts a joint resolution of approval.

"The executive actions from the Biden Administration banning new leasing and permitting on federal land endanger our economy and threaten our national security," Cheney said in a statement. "The legislation I am introducing today would safeguard against these damaging orders, and prevent the job loss, higher energy costs, and loss of revenue that promises to come with them."

Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney participates in the House Republican leadership press conference in the Capitol, June 25, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via Getty Images, File)

She continued: "These bills will defend the interests of the people of Wyoming and our nation, and I will work with partners in Washington to push for their consideration."

The Senate is also expected to introduce companion legislation to Cheney's bills Thursday.

Republican Wyoming Sen. Cynthia Lummis said during a press call that although there are multiple states in the western U.S. "that are producing energy from federal lands," those states also offer "some of the most beautiful scenery … national parks that are world-class and unlimited recreation opportunities for all kinds of recreators."

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They also simultaneously conserve "some of the most beautiful resources in the country," she said. "We can and do have beautiful open federal land and energy development occurring simultaneously. We want to keep it that way."

She added that "a leasing moratorium is going to cost up to $700 billion in GDP by 2030" and "cause U.S. households to pay $19 billion more for energy." It could also "destroy nearly a million jobs by 2022."

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Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon expressed support for Cheney's legislation and said eight states, Alaska, California, Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Utah and Wyoming, "could lose $8 billion in GDP and over $2 billion in tax revenue per year" as a result of Biden's orders.

Though unlikely to advance in a Democratic House, the bill has the backing of groups like the American Petroleum Institute, U.S. Soil and Gas Association, American Energy Alliance, mining associations in various states, the Wyoming Public Transportation System, Americans for Prosperity and the National Mining Association.

Within his first week in office, Biden signed executive orders that "eliminate fossil fuel subsidies as consistent with applicable law" and suspend new oil and gas leases on public lands and offshore waters for drilling and fracking for at least a year, though the president said Wednesday that he would not completely ban fracking.

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Biden's latest order requires acting Interior Secretary Scott de la Vega to review existing federal leasing practices related to federal fossil fuel development, among other mandates. The administration is also considering a suspension of new coal leases on public lands, according to The Washington Post.

The initiatives are an effort to combat climate change in the U.S.

Some lawmakers, attorneys general and oil industry supporters have argued that the order threatens as many as 1 million jobs within the energy industry, though Biden has promised millions of new, clean-energy jobs.

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The Ute Indian Tribe of the Uintah and Ouray Reservation, for example, criticized order No. 3395 as a "direct attack" on its economy in a letter to the interior secretary in a letter addressed to de la Vega and requested that he amend the order to provide an exception for energy permits on Indian lands.

"Your order is a direct attack on our economy, sovereignty, and our right to self-determination. Indian lands are not federal public lands. Any action on our lands and interests can only be taken after effective tribal consultation," the tribe wrote.

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In a letter to the president, four Texas Democrats urged Biden to rescind order No. 3395, noting that the action "is a precursor to more problematic action regarding a permanent ban on responsible oil and gas leasing in federal waters and on federal lands."

"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)," the state lawmakers wrote.

Biden's latest climate-related order, according to the White House, establishes climate considerations as an "essential element" of U.S. foreign policy and national security.

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"This is a whole of government approach to put climate change at center of domestic policy, national security and foreign policy," Biden said.

The order affirms that the U.S. "will exercise its leadership to promote a significant increase in global ambition" while making clear that "both significant short-term global emission reductions and net-zero global emissions by mid-century—or before—are required to avoid setting the world on a dangerous, potentially catastrophic, climate trajectory."

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Fox News' Evie Fordham and Brooke Singman contributed to this report.

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