14 Republican-led states demand Biden restore large domestic oil and gas lease amid ‘energy crisis’

EXCLUSIVE: Fourteen Republican-led states filed a brief with a federal appellate court in a case regarding President Biden’s cancellation of a large domestic oil and gas lease as fuel prices continue to rise.

Last month, the Biden administration canceled one of the most high-profile oil and gas lease sales pending before the Department of the Interior (DOI).

The DOI halted the potential to drill for oil in over one million acres in Alaska’s Cook Inlet, along with two lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico. 

BIDEN ADMIN CANCELS MASSIVE OIL AND GAS LEASE SALE AMID RECORD-HIGH GAS PRICES

“The Biden administration has been working hand in glove with these radical environmentalist groups to shut down American energy development,” Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen, who led the states in filing the brief, told Fox News. “These groups have made a cottage industry out of weaponizing federal law to cripple responsible domestic energy development, and liberal judges are all too happy to facilitate this green coup.”

Biden speaks at the Port of Los Angeles

President Joe Biden delivers remarks aboard the Battleship USS Iowa Museum at the Port of Los Angeles on June 10, 2022, in Los Angeles, California. (Mario Tama/Getty Images / Getty Images)

“They have inflicted an energy crisis on the American people and if this decision is allowed to stand, it will only deepen that crisis and further bottleneck the domestic supply of oil and gas,” Knudsen continued.

The 14 states filed their brief in the case Friends of the Earth v. Haaland, et al., a case before the Washington, D.C. Circuit Court. In the brief, the states write that the termination of the lease will “only exacerbate” the current energy crisis.

“America is in the midst of an energy crisis. The district court’s vacatur of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s (‘BOEM’ or ‘Agency’) Lease Sale 257 as part of the 2017-2022 Program for the Outer Continental Shelf (‘OCS’) in the Gulf of Mexico will only exacerbate this crisis and inflict greater costs on the American people.”

Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen, wearing a cowboy hat

Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen (Montana DOJ, Attorney General’s Office; Dukas/Universal Images Group via Getty Images / Getty Images)

They also criticize the environmental groups that successfully lobbied the Biden administration to stop domestic oil and gas production, calling it a “green coup.”

“Plaintiffs Friends of the Earth, Healthy Gulf, Sierra Club, and Center for Biological Diversity sued the federal Defendants to stop oil and gas production in the United States. This action dovetails with the federal Defendants’ own actions since January 20, 2021, to bottleneck the domestic supply of oil,” says the brief.

The states that joined Montana and signed the brief include: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah and West Virginia.

In addition, the attorneys general slammed courts for “weaponizing” the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) in order to “bottleneck” domestic energy production.

The GOP-led states conclude in the brief: “Too many courts have facilitated this green coup. This Court can help reverse that trend by reversing the district court in this case.”

President Joe Biden, oil drilling

View of the pumpjack in the oil well of the oil field and President Biden. (AP/iStock / AP Images)

Within his first week in office in January 2021, President Biden signed an executive order temporarily suspending new oil and gas leases on federal lands. 

However, the administration resumed the new leasing last month following court challenges against the ban and as gas prices have reached historic highs.

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Fox Business’ Tyler O’Neil contributed to this report.

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