By Derek Draplin
The Center Square

https://www.thecentersquare.com/

A group of Republican governors sent a letter to President Joe Biden on Monday, Feb. 22 asking him to rescind an executive order that halts new leases for oil and gas development on federal land, arguing that it will have a negative impact on their economies and will cost consumers.

Biden signed the lease moratorium Jan. 27 as part of a broader series of executive actions seeking to curb climate change. The executive order, which applies to offshore leases, does not apply to existing leases for development on federal lands or leases on tribal land.

The letter, which was led by Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon, was co-signed by Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey, Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, Idaho Gov. Brad Little, Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb, Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson, Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte, Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, and Utah Gov. Spencer Cox.

Biden’s executive order “has a negative economic effect upon western states with large tracts of federal land and upon Gulf Coast states, chasing away capital investment for long-term economic growth and undermining public services, public conservation, public safety, public education, and more,” the letter states. “Beyond directly impacted states, the Order is estimated to spike American residential energy costs by $1.7 billion per year.”

The Wyoming Legislature commissioned a report last year that estimated a federal lease moratorium would result in a $639.7 billion hit to gross domestic product (GDP) in Wyoming, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Montana, North Dakota, California, and Alaska by 2040. Over 48% of Wyoming’s land is federally owned, according to Ballotpedia.

The letter also argues the executive order “jeopardizes our national security interests and strips away the opportunity for Americans to be energy independent.”

“The Order inevitably shifts development away from U.S. federal lands and offshore waters to other countries with far less stringent emission controls, exacerbating concerns over greenhouse gas emissions worldwide,” the letter continues.

Most oil and gas development on federal land is overseen by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM), with states receiving roughly half of the revenue from royalties and fees.

Biden has nominated U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland, D-N.M. for secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior, which oversees BLM. Her Senate confirmation hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 23.